Stephen Elrod, VP and Creative Director for Lee Jofa
"Tree of Life" textile -from Lee Jofa
source - Veranda 2007
I have always thought it is so important to keep up with all of the latest technology and the newest trends in interior design and business management - BUT, it's also incredibly important to have a thorough understanding of the age-old crafts that create the furnishings and the textiles that inhabit our homes. And today, it's the time honored craft of textiles that has me tightly in its spell . . .
The Lee Jofa Showroom in San Francisco
I recently had a chance to attend an amazing lecture on the "Art of Hand Blocked Fabrics" from Stephen Elrod, of Lee Jofa, and to hear the entire process described. Lee Jofa carries one of the most spectacular collections of hand blocked fabric I've ever seen - and I've always been fascinated by how they are created . . .
So, as the radiant Julie Andrews once said, 'let's start at the very beginning . . . .' and see how the amazing "tree of life" fabric is created.
to begin - the greige goods (the name for unprinted textiles) is placed on the printing table and affixed so that it will not move during the lengthy printing process.
Each individual print block is checked, cleaned, and prepared to have the ink applied.
And then, each colour, one by one, is applied to the textile. There are a staggering total of 316 individual blocks used to create the pattern.
The process is clearly a work of art in and of itself.
Each new block and colour layered to create the pattern.
After all of the 316 individual blocks are printed, the entire length of fabric (with a 99 inch repeat) is reviewed.
The original pattern was created by Henry Wearne, an English textile designer who specialized in creating fabrics for the American market.
After the ink has dried, it is rolled onto the bolt, the table is scrubbed clean of the ink which bleeds through during the printing process . . . and a new length of fabric is affixed to the table to be printed.
Just a sample of the numerous hand blocks needed for the process.
and the almost shocking variety in sizes for the various colours in the design. And, yes, those tiny, tiny, tiny wood blocks are part of the process as well.
So have a look around the house, or maybe next time you're out looking at textiles (or maybe the next time you see a Lee Jofa showroom) - have a close look at some of these amazing textiles.
Now I'm starring at my needlepoint rug too . . . I wonder how these are made,
ps. I've been searching around for a project featuring the Lee Jofa "Tree of Life" textile - if you have one, please send it to me. I would love to feature it.