I'm happy to share this week's Instant Heirloom on Sam of Inklore. I love the modern simplicity of her work and also that it looks very classic. (I have a major crush on her new linen bag!) I was so curious about the process she goes through when designing and printing her creations, and I'm delighted with what I found out, as I'm sure you will be too.
How did you learn to do block printing?
I am a self-taught block print artist. A few years ago, I read an article about Galbraith and Paul; I was intrigued by the art form, so I went out and bought a starter kit and made my own very simple Christmas cards that year. I just continued to play with the medium, forcing myself to try more and more difficult pieces.
What's a favorite item that you've made (or put in your online shop) lately?
My favorite item at this moment is my Linen Bucket. I kept one for myself because it is really useful and looks good in any room in my house. It also has my current favorite print on it, Branches.
What made you decide to turn that into a business?
When I first began block printing, I had two very young children and a part-time job that I did from home. Over a couple of years, my children grew and my job became more and more part-time. I had started reading quite a few craft blogs, and finally decided to start making the things I wanted for myself. Starting a business was the best way I could think of to support my habit.
Have you learned about the history of the process or met anyone who has become a mentor along the way?
When I first started, I found Jesse's blog, who has a shop on etsy, Jezze. She had a wonderful tutorial on her blog about printing on fabric, and I did email her with a couple of questions about curing ink, which she was kind enough to answer. I also went to my local library and checked out every book I could find about the process. Now, of course, there are some great books about printing on fabric by Lotta Jansdotter and Lena Corwin.
Can you tell me a little about your process—do you design images, then figure out what to put them on, or do you think of each project as a whole?
It really depends on the project. When I designed my growth chart, it was finding the antique woodblock numbers that inspired the project. Other times, I am inspired by something growing in my yard and decide what to put the print on after it is finished. My goal is always to create practical things that will actually be used, and to make those things pretty.
How do your children influence your work?
Some of my projects are the result of having kids and knowing what they need, or what I need as a parent. The Sarah tote and 1-2-3 Growth Chart are good examples of that. Other times it is their art work that inspires a new print or project. My daughter drew an ant, Anty, and he will be making an appearance on a new item soon.
Why do you enjoy doing this type of craft, which takes a lot of time and manual effort?
I suppose you could call me an introvert, and at the end of a busy day, carving a print, or printing on fabric, is solitary, quiet and relaxing for me.
What's the best part of your day?
The best part of my day is reading with my kids, or having a cup of coffee with my husband.