Roost Books-An Afternoon with Jen Hewett

Jen Hewett (L) Roost Books Editor-Jennifer Urban-Brown (R)
Jen Hewett (L) Roost Books Editor-Jennifer Urban-Brown (R)

Roost Books, the Boulder-based home of beautifully designed books about crafting, parenting, gardening and more, invited the DSM Social Media Manager, and Visual Content Manager up to their beautiful office for an afternoon workshop of carving blocks and printing fabric, taught by the very talented; Jen Hewett.

Jen is a printmaker, surface designer, and textile artist. Her book: "Print Pattern Sew" published by Roost Books-an imprint of Shambhala Publications, is about pattern-making and garment sewing, and is scheduled to be released in Spring 2018.

We arrived a bit before the start of the workshop to take a tour of the Roost Books office and meet some of the wonderful staff. Needless to say, by looking at these photos, the space is gorgeous and we did not want to leave.

The space where the workshop took place was on the second floor of the building, in the kitchen area. Even though we were all slightly crammed so close together, reminiscent of middle school lunch in the cafeteria, the atmosphere along with the Roost Books staff was so lovely. Jen began the workshop with a little history about herself and what was currently happening in her world. Next: the fun part. We would be block printing on fabric-small totes to be exact. We started with sketch paper to sketch out our designs and then transfer them to our block for carving. Once we had looked at some pins on Pinterest, and sketches from Jen's very own sketchbook, everyone was feeling very inspired.

After the sketching and choosing what design we wanted on our block, we used the tracing paper to transfer the mirror image of our sketch to the block. The block is what you carve and then print with. Block media can come in many different types-linoleum, rubber, and wood. We used a thick, flexible block called Moo Carve. Next, we took the block cutting tool and blades to carve the block based on what our sketches were. Once the blocks were carved, we chose what color ink we wanted to print with. Since block printing is not like stamping, you pour the ink onto a palette, and then roll it thin before applying it with a brayer to your block. You never want to dip your block onto your palette. You always want to use the brayer. After rolling the ink with the brayer onto your carved block, you then take your block and start printing on your tote!

A special thanks to Jess Townsend, publicist at Roost Books for the invite, and tour. We had such a great afternoon with you, Jen, and your staff!

Be sure to follow Roost Books & Jen Hewett on Instagram: @roostbooks @jenhewett