To save this video and more, Download the Tastemade App
- In the world that we live in where things are mass produced and so easy to purchase at the click of a fingertip, we really wanted to bring unique, one-of-a-kind handmade products to the world. We're sisters, we're best friends, and we have wanted to create a business together that's socially minded since probably we were 10 years old. I'm Hopie Stockman.
- [Lily] And I'm Lily Stockman and we're the co-founders of Block Shop Textiles. Block Shop is a textile company. We're based in Los Angeles and Jaipur and we make hand block printed and handwoven textiles.
- Our goal when we started Block Shop was to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind, handmade textiles for our own lives and to support the tradition of hand block printing and bring it to an international audience.
- [Lily] In 2010, my husband and I moved to Jaipur and I met the Chippa family and we started prototyping on what I thought of as unstructured paintings and it wasn't until we started wrapping them on ourselves that we thought oh, these could be home textiles. We love color, we're obsessed with color, so were always experimenting and throwing colors together. The way that we design is always born out of a place of joy, does it make you feel warm when your looking at it? And that design philosophy has continued through the duration of our business.
- Block Shop is willfully and gleefully analog. We still do all of our designs on paper. We'll start with a watercolor of the design and then we'll get out some paper and scissors and we'll cut out the actual shapes that are gonna be carved into the wooden blocks to scale. And then we'll start playing around with those cutouts until we come up with something that we like. Every design starts with a watercolor sketch that we bring with us to India. Watercolor actually really lends itself to the process because its imperfect the same way that printing is imperfect. Our team prefers it when we come with watercolor sketches in hand because the looseness of those paintings allows them to interpret it in their own way. We'll sit around over the printing table with the rest of our team to figure out how it's gonna work best on the fabric. Once we have a design that we're all happy with, we'll bring it to Raju, who carves all the Block Shops' wooden blocks.
- [Hopie] He uses a simple hammer and chisel.
- The hammer and chisel are the tools that are traditional to the process that haven't changed in hundreds of years and they allow for such incredible detail. Once we get the blocks back, we begin the printing process. One of the most important parts of the process is the washing. If you don't do it perfectly, you'll have this kind of waffle-y surface in the linen. Linen's really temperamental.
- All of the linen is soaked for three days to soften it and remove any impurities. After three days, it's dried and then it's ready to be printed on. We'll take one block and come up with maybe 10 different ways of putting it together to create a beautiful pattern and that's the human hand, that's what we love about hand blok printing. It's almost like a really beautifully choreographed ballet commences once everything goes into production> they'll mix the dye and the pigment and then take the wooden block, dip it into the pigment tray, then print the repeated pattern on the fabric.
- Once all the fabric is printed, it's brought to the communal drying pad, which is in the center of the village. Every single textile that we make has been dried out in the dirt under the Rajasthani sun.
- That drying space lends to the, sort of the imperfect and beautiful narrative of each piece. For example, a cow might be ambling across the drying field and lift some pigment off of one of our scarves and then you have a lucky cow print on your scarf. Once everything is dried out, all of the textiles go back for a final washing and then our team does a QC process and they're packaged up and shipped to us here in our studio in LA. Every time we get a shipment from India, it's like a little party. We all get really excited to see what's arrived. We QC them here for a second time here in the studio. We're looking for significant variations in color and then mistakes in the printing. We set those aside as seconds, which a lot of our customers actually love when they come to the studio. We package each scarf, each napkin, each pillow beautifully. We hope that when our customers receive a Block Shop package that they feel the personal touch, to know how many hands, how many cups of chai went into the design and the making of that one product. That is why we do what we do.
- [Hopie] We're basically one large family that spans two continents. That's the joy of Block Shop.