Wax printing block

I thought I’d share a photograph of this vintage was printing block that I bought recently from the African Fabric Shop.Wax printing block

This was a birthday present for my husband, given for two main reasons. First, it’s a lovely object in its own right. The photograph, taken with a flash, doesn’t really do it justice, although the light does show up the shiny base of the print block. Second reason is that he’s very interested in industrial history, and especially the history of the textile industry in Manchester. According to the African Fabric Shop website, these blocks (she still has several available for sale) date back to the 1980s and were used as recently as 2007 to overprint African wax print fabrics by hand in the Manchester factory of A Brunnschweiler & Co. The firm still produces these fabrics in Ghana under the name of ABC Wax, retaining only a small design office in Manchester.

The dimensions of the blocks are provided on the website (around 20 x 40cm, weighing around 1.6kg), but I don’t think I’d quite clocked what a chunky object it would be until the postman delivered it. It now hangs on our wall, looking beautiful in a low-key, abstract, way. Magie Relph of the African Fabric Shop points out on the website that these blocks could still be used. I’ll bear it in mind…..