Learning Index >> Hand-blockprinted Textiles: Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher

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Barron and Larcher

Alongside her dye researches Barron experimented enthusiastically with her French blocks. By chance she found that if indigo-dyed cotton was printed with nitric acid, the dye was discharged (bleached out) and the design appeared white against a blue ground. (No. 1) Her own first attempts to make an indigo-vat proved disastrous, but she persisted and later was to describe indigo as the 'greatest thrill' of her printing life.{5}

She also began experimenting with cutch to give her brown, and printed with pyrolignite of iron on cotton or linen to achieve a light beige, discovering that if the material first was steeped in powdered oak galls a black print was produced. (No. 2 & 3) From a lecture given at the Victoria & Albert Museum by G P Baker, owner of the printing firm at Crayford in Essex, she learnt how to make a steamer to fix the dyes, using a dustbin and gas ring, and so could extend her repertoire.

In 1915 Barron cut her first block Log following the grain in the wood to create the design.(No. 4) She spent many hours trying to get it to repeat, and went on to do several variations of it. (No. 5)

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