Friday, September 05, 2008

Lena Corwin's New Book - Printing by Hand

One of the first blogs I discovered was Lena's Corwin's blog >O<. I've been a faithful reader for a couple of years now and I'm always interested to see what Lena is talking about, the projects she is working on and where she is traveling to. I have always loved the city maps Lena does for Elle Decor - in fact they were my first introduction to her work.

I was really excited when I heard that Lena was doing a book for STC called Printing by Hand. Myself, I somehow missed doing fabric printing at college - I did batik, discharge dyeing, weaving, felting, embroidery, all kinds of surface design but none of the schools I attended did silk screening. I was anxious to see how Lena approached doing fabric printing and how she would present it to the normal American craftsperson who is working at home - usually on a kitchen or dining room table.

Lena breaks fabric printing down into different types of printing, some more approachable than others. Stamping, stencilling, spraying, using freezer paper, and developing your own rubber stamps are all relatively easy to do. Her directions are clear and concise and easy to follow. Considering my current obsession with fabric printing (or stamping as it should be called I now know), I was really exciting to see how a pro would approach the craft.

My favorite project from Printing by Hand is this dresser Lena printed using contact paper and paint. I love the look of the animals and birds jumping and flapping around amongst the field of flowers. I had never thought of using contact paper as a reverse printing technique.

Almost all of the projects are done on white ground fabric and printed with one color. Being addicted to color as I am, I was wishing for more color. I'm sure this was an aesthetic decision as well as for book design purposes. I also wish there were more brand names of Lena's favorite inks listed in the appendix of the book - that would have been very helpful for anyone trolling the aisles of giant craft stores. This book would be a great addition to any textile lover's library.

Great job Lena! Thanks for such hard work on a great book as well as keeping up your blog. I know how time consuming both things are!

You can find a nice interview with Lena here on Melanie Falick's STC blog.


Aim said...

Wow, thanks for turning me on to this book and this blog! I really love fabric printing by hand, ever since I potato-printed an old sheet with blue cows and hearts about 22 years ago!!! I'd love to try some other techniques :)

Anonymous said...


Tomatogirl said...

I love this book, too, but unfortunetly, most of the materials used for printing in Lena´s book are not readily available in Germany, where I live, and I`m not sure if I can wait until the trend swaps over the I have to invent my own printing tools, but that´s quiet funny, too...

Moorecat said...

Hi Kristin -

An interesting review, but what are all the question marks for?