All about Block Printing- A Brief History

Behind the Scenes Origins Studio

Dermond Peterson Block Printed Home Goods

Dermond Peterson has always had its own unique way of printing, but the fundamentals behind our block printed home linens are the same as they have been throughout centuries.


                             Emperor Gaozu of the Tang Dynasty

Block printing's origins date back to the Tang Dynasty (ruling from 618–906) when the idea of movable type was in its fledgling years. Images or text are cut into wood blocks using sharp gouges.

Preparing a Woodcut

The blocks are then inked and printed onto paper or fabric leaving the raised, uncut parts of the image onto the surface. Using woodcuts allowed multiple copies to be made of the same imagery or texts- paving the way to printed literature and repeat patterns on textiles. 

 Central Gaulish Samian pottery circa 1st Century

But stamping and other forms of copying information have existed far longer than the ancient woodcut.  Before the Tang Dynasty's advanced block printing techniques there were stone, wax, and brass stamps, or punches (poincons) used to transfer imagery and words to unfired pottery, clay slabs and textiles. 

In our studio, each block is meticulously crafted by Susan Peterson using her original source photography and drawings to manipulate the imagery into blocks with texture, depth, and expression.

Dory Table Runner in Clementine

Want to see more?

This 1955 clip showcases British housewives taking decorating into their own hands.

"If you can't draw, you can always be a modernist."

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