Gold of Gambetolla

As the sun rises on a fresh August morning we jump into our red van and head for Dover. Our plan is to drive to Italy in hope of lazy days by the pool and long summer lunches.

Sheltered from the blazing summer sun we overlook the Piazza Del Campo and imagine the madness of the Palio Di Sienna. I turn to buy an ice cream but my attention is caught by Il Casale, a shop selling what appears to be block printed kitchenware. With excitement we venture inside. The shop assistant proudly explains that all the fabrics are hand block printed in Italy, yes Italy!

Leaving the pool loungers behind, we travel across Tuscany (in our van without air con!) to Gambettola a small town in the province of Emilia Romagna. Wandering Gambetolla’s sleepy streets, the unmistakable sound of wood hitting fabric meets our ears. So it’s true the Italian’s are still keeping this ancient craft alive.

Since starting Woven Oak in 2009 we have found little evidence of block printing in Europe. To see this craft so close to home opens up many doors of possibility

Il Casale in Sienna

Iron Oxide, flour and vinegar used for printing

Block printed Design

Brass inlaid Woodblock

The light coloured iron oxide ink before it is fixed

Traditional Italian woodblock carved from pear wood, the skills are still

being passed down the generations.

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