Tuesday, 24 January 2012


One of the points which comes up in several of the Sonic Wallpaper interviews relates to the handmade quality of some of the wallpapers. Interviewees have commented that this handmade quality makes them think about the materials involved in producing the papers, and - by association - the feeling and atmosphere of handmade spaces.

Using woodblocks to create wallpapers today when industrial processes are cheaper and easier to access seems somewhat anachronistic, and yet in other aspects of our lives, the whole idea of 'handmade' is gaining popularity and momentum. Industrial and cheaper is increasingly viewed as not always being better.

Today I came across this amazing video of a William Morris wallpaper being created today using woodblocks. The link came via Julia V Hendrickson's post on the excellent Printeresting blog.

It's well worth watching to see how wallpapers were made in previous centuries, and for a little inspiration re: the materials and method of the process. I imagine many of the papers in the MoDA collection have been made in a similar way but - very frustratingly (to me at least) - the V&A Museum website video doesn't contain any of the lovely sounds of woodblock printing!

I wonder if I might gain access to this marvellous woodblock printing studio in order to collect such sounds, satisfying the curiosity of my interviewees, providing extra sonic context for some of the papers, and documenting the sounds of a creative process which might not be practiced for very much longer?


  1. That video is just awe-inspiring. I love the fact that after all the printing is finished, the work is inspected once more and touched up where needed, something that I can really relate to.