The art of the hand block is highly prized for its beautifully crafted appearance—subtle, softened and varied, each motif showing the hand and mark of its maker. Even the wood blocks used to create the designs are carved by hand, and much of the natural beauty lies in the intricately detailed forms and time-worn edges.
Beginning in the sixteenth century, the exuberant and exotic patterns of India, known in the Western world as indiennes and palampores, were imported to Europe and became very popular. As a result France and England developed their own block printing industries, and began to design block prints that took on a more European character, featuring abundant flowers, grand damasks and exotic patterns with botanical elements.
The patterns are carefully made by matching small pin marks at the block edges, which keep the pattern in registration. The block is pounded with a wooden mallet, called a maul, in an even pressure that requires an experienced and skilled hand. Printers then go back with dyes and brushes to hand paint. The result is one of a kind and artisanal—as each block impression is just slightly different than the next.
This season, Schumacher introduces Jaipur, an exquisite collection of entirely hand block printed wallcoverings that use traditional methods and classic patterns in new interpretations and colorations. The designs vary in scale, from small and delicate bhuti prints and decoratively detailed stripes, to bold damask motifs, Greek key patterns and multihued paisleys. The timeless quality of these prints is enhanced with durable surfaces and inks, creating versatile wallcoverings that are suitable for a variety of modern and traditional interiors.