I Have a Little Obsession

I am obsessed with textile printing blocks, and have been collecting them since I was a student at Kent State University. At that time, a friend of mine had just returned from Africa and brought back these lovey textile stamps for me...

They are hand carved wooden blocks, some of them quite old and quite well used. Textile stamps such as these have been used for many centuries to adorn woven fabrics and garments. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians were familiar with this process, and extant bits of boldly printed cloth from China date back to some time before 220 AD.
Wood blocks for printing, such as these, are usually made from box, lime, holly, sycamore or pear. They are several inches thick to prevent warping, and larger blocks are made up of several pieces of wood glued together. The block is planed flat, the design drawn on the surface, and then painstakingly hand carved.

I Have used my printing blocks on paper as a positive print as well as a negative image. 

This beautiful hand made copper stamp measures 8"x 6.25" and when printed (twice back to back) on paper yields this image...

The negative image is made by dipping the stamp in hot beeswax and printing the wax on paper. I used paint, watercolor pencils and prismacolor pencils to add color, then ironed out the wax.

I used the same stamp to print on the surface of an encaustic piece. Encaustic is a process of layering pigment, paper, fabric, and other materials between layers of melted beeswax and damar resin. The layers are built up and fused with heat. 

Fabric layers are cut from recycled silk sari borders that are embroidered with silk & metallic threads

Some other encaustic examples...

The paisley design is printed on the surface, then painted with oils and fused with a layer of encaustic medium and heat. 

The blue border at the bottom is made by stamping beeswax on paper, painting & ironing out the wax. All of the black designs & rabbit are printed on the surface, then fused with a layer of encaustic medium and heat.