A Custom Printed Block Print Jacaranda Curtain Panel
This was the third of three large drapery projects that I created for a client who is an architect in the bay area.
The first was a very intense cape buffalo pattern, and the second was a crazy mash of zebras running in all directions.
He was working on a residential project for a client who was designing his home with a very vibrant African theme.
Jacaranda trees are prevalent in South Africa, so that was the main inspiration for the curtain panel he had me create. He was also very into artisanal products, so hand printed fabric was perfect for this project.
At the start of the project, he sent me a bunch of drawings he had made that he wanted me to turn into individual block prints.
This part of the process was fairly simple because I didn’t have to design something new, and could just trace over his lines.
The difficulty with this project came in the details.
As you can see, I had to carve hundreds of tiny little lines into the blocks to get the effect of a jacaranda leaf. It took ages!
The largest block took me about 4 hours total, not including breaks (for my eyeballs).
He had drawn out 10 leaves which were all different in shape and size. The architect was an artist at heart so every drawing he gave me was impeccable!
After a week or two of carving out the blocks, we started talking about color.
The purple above was just a test color. I was making sure that the detail was going to show up on the linen drapes we were printing on.
After I made sure the lines were ok, I started testing the white color he wanted on the linen. It was difficult to see, so we decided to compromise and try to do a 2 layer print with grey and white together.
Basically I would print the leaf in a darker color first, then block print it again with a white color directly on top. That way we would get the white that we wanted, while still being able to see the detail.
I wasn’t sure how it would go, but it ended up having a really cool look.
You can see my tests below. The two prints he circled were the winners, and that’s how we ended up printing the final drapery.
When it came time for the final printing I just carefully eyeballed (a genetic gift!) the spacing of the leaves and tried not to put too many of the same leaves right next to each other.
First I went through with the grey, then I held my breath as I repeated the process directly on top with the white ink.
I was very happy with the finished block printed fabric! Here’s a section from the project-
After I finished my part, the architect sent the block printed fabric to get fabricated into a curtain panel.
The end result was my jacaranda leaf curtains hanging on a kitchen window, looking out over a large jacaranda tree in his client’s yard.
He had also commissioned another artist to design custom silver cabinet pulls that also were in the shape of jacaranda leaves.
Details people. :)