Design, Carve, Print: Block Printing on Fabric!
During this online class, I use videos, photos, and a private Facebook group to guide students through the process of creating print-worthy designs, carving blocks, and printing repeat patterns on fabric.
Registration is now open for the June 24 – August 6 session.
On June 24 and 25, I will launch the lessons in real time, and am present throughout the weekend to answer questions and provide feedback But even if you are not available on June 24 and 25, you can still take the class. The classroom will remain open until August 16. One of the reasons that I scheduled the class for a weekend is that once you get started with the block printing process, you won’t want to stop (really!). So, rather than stretch the course out over a few weeks, I decided to release all the materials over two days. You can work with us during those two days, or watch the videos at your own pace – an especially good option for those outside the US who may not be anywhere close to the PDT time zone. Of course, if you take the course on June 24 and 25, you can still refer back to the videos and class notes until August 6.
Have questions? Read on…
Q: When does registration close?
A: Registration will close on June 20.
Q: How are the lessons structured? Will you have downloadable notes?
A: I use a combination of video and written instruction for the lessons. The bulk of the lessons are video-based, with some photo and text-based lessons as well. All lessons are web-based; you will not be downloading any videos or files. I’ve taught this class a number of times both online and in person, and have found that the best way for people to learn is to follow along with the lessons and actually print. For that reason, I do not provide downloadable notes, though I do encourage you to take notes as you work.
Q: How tech-savvy do I need to be to take this class?
A: Hmm… You don’t need to be able to write code or create your own app, but you do need to be very comfortable navigating online. If you use social media, regularly upload photos to Facebook or Instagram, watch streaming movies, have a fast DSL or broadband connection, and are not afraid of being online, then you should be fine. I have run this class five times, and students working with a variety of operating systems and computers/tablets have taken this course, so I know that the course works.
Q: Are there any countries where this course isn’t available?
A: Yes. The course videos are hosted on Vimeo, which censors in some countries have blocked. As of now, I believe that Vimeo is blocked in Turkey and Indonesia (and, sometimes, India). Please go to www.vimeo.com to see if it the site is accessible in your country.
Q: I’d like to take the class in real time on June 24 and 25. What will the class schedule be?
A: On Saturday June 24, the class runs from 9 am – 4 pm PDT. On Sunday, June 25, the class runs from 10 am – 1 pm PDT (though you’ll need a couple more hours to work through Sunday’s lesson).
Q: I won’t be available that weekend. Does that mean I can’t take the course?
A: No, you can still take the class. The classroom will remain open for a month. One of the reasons that I scheduled the class for a weekend is that once you get started with the block printing process, you won’t want to stop (really!). So, rather than stretch the course out over a few weeks, I decided to release all the materials over two days. You can work with us during those two days, or watch the videos at your own pace. Of course, if you take the course on June 24-25, you can still refer back to the videos and class notes throughout the month. And I will be actively participating in the class Facebook group through August 6.
However, I will not be extending the class past August 6. Before signing up, please take a look at your calendar and make sure you can finish the course by August 6.
Q: Why is the class only available for a month? What if I want lifetime access to it?
A: Even though this is an online class, I spend a lot of time responding to students’ questions, troubleshooting their printing problems, and generally providing feedback during the class. I can’t sustain this level of attention year-round, because I work on other projects throughout the year. Also, in my experience, the more time people have to complete a course or a task, the less likely they are to complete the course at all. Having a specific period of time for the course sets a deadline for students, encouraging them to complete lessons in a timely manner.
Q: What tools and materials will I need for the course?
A: I will send out a comprehensive materials list after you register for the class, but you must already have, or be able to acquire, the following materials:
- A linocutting tool (a few examples here*)
- A soft carving medium, such as Moo Carve, Soft-Kut, EZ-Cut, or Speedy-Cut. Since this is an introductory course, and because we will not be working with oil-based inks, we will not be working with linoleum or wood, and my lessons will be focused on tools and techniques for soft carving media only. I also ask that you not carve a block larger than 4×6″ for your first print in this class.
- Water-based screenprinting ink specifically formulated for textiles (examples here, here and here). For health and safety reasons, we will not be working with oil-based blockprinting ink, or plastisol-based screenprinting inks. In addition, we will not be working with fabric paint, acrylic paint with textile extender, etc. (i.e. we will only be working with water-based screenprinting ink!).
- Light-colored fabric made of natural fibers. A good, inexpensive fabric to practice on is cotton muslin. You can wash and iron your fabric ahead of time.
Q: Will I actually print during this class?
A: Yes! Over two days, I’ll guide you through the entire process – from the initial sketches, to transferring your images to your block, to carving your block, to printing and heat setting your fabric. By the end of the class, you will have printed your own fabric, and (hopefully) will share your creation with the class.
Q: Do I have to have a Facebook account to take this class?
A: Participation in the Facebook group is optional, but I strongly recommend joining it. I use the Facebook group to interact with students once the class has begun until August 6. All advice and troubleshooting will happen through the Facebook group only (and not through individual emails).
Also, the overwhelming response from students who participated in the Facebook group is that being in the group greatly added to their enjoyment in the class. Class participants in the group have loved sharing their work and learning from each other.
If you don’t have Facebook account, you can create one for the class. I don’t share your information, and won’t invite you to join other groups (or to play Candy Crush Saga with me).
Q: Is it safe to wash the fabric I print in your class?
A: Yes, as long as you follow my class instructions. There may be some fading in the wash – the same as any store-bought printed garment – but I wouldn’t ask you to spend hours printing fabric, only for your design to completely disappear with a little soap and water!
Q: I want to take your class, but I can’t draw. Do I have to be able to draw?
A: I truly believe that everyone can draw, with enough practice. That said, I think that simple shapes, laid out in an interesting way, can be just as compelling as an intricately-carved block. Plus, I’m a gentle teacher, confident that I can coax good work out of everyone. Check out my students’ work from some of my previous in-person and online classes, as well as my 52 Weeks of Printmaking project, for examples.
Q: I want to give your class as a gift. How do I do that?
A: After you register for the class, send me a message and I’ll transfer the class registration to the person you’ve bought it for. I may even have a cute gift certificate you can give.
Q: I still have questions that you didn’t answer above. How can I contact you?
A: You can email me here.
Here’s what students have said about Design, Carve, Print:
“This class was a breakthrough for me. The instructions were so clear and I learned so much, so quickly that eluded me in trying to teach myself. You had the lessons well prepared and clearly filmed. I am a big fan of online learning thanks to you!” – Debbie
“This class gave me the confidence I needed to take my printmaking to the next level. All those fabric-based projects I’ve had on my mind I can now do! Thank you so much Jen! And thanks to my classmates for being so inspiring and supportive! You rock!” – H.
“So nice to learn in a great creative environment with people who ‘get me’ and don’t get that glazed over look to their eyes when I start rambling on about what I’m making and excited about. Thank you.” –Sarah
“I had an amazing time and learned a ton and got to make so much stuff.
This is something I have continually struggled with, getting over myself and just making something, anything. I never thought that an online class would help me out so much in that department.” – Barbara