sounds at the block-making workshop – different data sorts

One of the most memorable things about a block-making workshop is the sound. The sounds are repetitive, rhythmical patterns of sanding and hammering. I recorded a lot of videos for this project and from these I have been able to extract the audio and visualise this (thanks to Audacity). The rhythmical sound of a wooden…

about textiel factorij and signature print

My part of the project Signature Print is an interdisciplinary co-creation bringing together the newest global digital fabrication technology with the oldest local craft techniques, to create an artwork within my chosen theme of automation, and affect the lifestyles of the younger generation of traditional block-carving families.

Sufiyan Khatri tests our blocks!

During a TextielFactorij workshop in Amsterdam with the Indian masters, we were lucky enough for world renowned block printer Sufiyan Khatri to test out our CNC milled blocks!!

laser etching & jaimin’s block carving

Back in the Netherlands, at wowlab, we created another block with the criss-cross design laser etched, just like the one at FabLab CEPT. Then we sent the block over to Jaimin Gajjar, in India. Here he is carrying out the following step of carving the block once the design has been placed:   We received…

pear wood blocks – CNC milling with wowlab

the 3 fablab techniques tried, to assist block making, were laser (etching/cutting), CNC milling and 3d printing. 3d printing with plastic filament gave disastrous results. Laser cutting burns the wood and makes it brittle. CNC milling did not get a try out while I was in India, but back in the Netherlands I worked with…

data-driven patterns

I recorded all the movements that the artisans made for their work. I amassed a huge amount of data while I was following them, with the idea of embodying their effort into a design for my exhibition block. I am currently analysing all my recordings using a script* and Kinovea software, with which I can…

test print – 3d printed block

  Kirit and his father very kindly tested the plastic 3d printed block. There were many problems with it. The ink did not catch well on the surface and also collected in the shapes where it shouldn’t!  

laser-etching the design on the block

The idea behind laser etching the design on the block is that the creation and transfer of the design is a step requiring advanced craftsmanship. Using the laser to etch the design on, we can prepare the block for further carving by hand. This could be one option to aid blockcarvers.  

block carving stages – design transfer

I spent time with the Gajjar family in Pethapur, researching how printing blocks are made. This is an intricate design that has been transferred to the surface of a wooden block so that it can be carved out. The design has to be drawn with great precision so that the patterns match up with subsequent…


I spent a lot of time with Kirit Chitara and his family, Mata Ni Pachedi artisans, recording the effort they put into painting with pen (kalam) and natural dyes on fabric. Their craft is also known as the ‘Gujarati Kalamkari’.  

my first investigation into real print blocks

The blocks that are used for printing large fabrics are rather larger than those you tend to pick up as a tourist from street vendors (such as the ones I used in my pre-India laser-cutting forays…) My holding the handle in the last picture gives an indication of the size of the block: The pattern…

collaboration background

I was put in touch with my collaboration partners in India through the umbrella project Textiel Factorij Kirit Chitara from the Chitara family of ‘Mata Ni Pachedi’ Kalamkari artisans based in Vasna, Ahmedabad, Gujarat Jaimin Gajjar a from the Gajjar family of block carvers based in Pethapur (just north of Ahmedabad) Tapan Betai from the…