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Meet our Block Print Instructor, Hannah!

Meet our Block Print Class instructor, Hannah! Hannah will be teaching our Block Print Workshop -  a new exciting and versatile class! In this workshop,  students will not only learn everything needed to print their own design onto a t-shirt and cloth patches, but will also leave with a collection of all the patches created and exchanged in class! 

Hannah has been an avid crafter since childhood. In college, she majored in Art and Design at the NCSU Design School, where she focused on print-making, worked in the ceramics studio, and was a student manager of the wood and metal shop. Hannah's program embodied a Bauhaus approach to design and teaching, prioritizing craft and creating a community of artists working together to problem-solve, design, and create art that can imbue everyday life with meaning and beauty.

Today, Hannah runs her own business Toría Designs. Toría Designs is focused on combining print-making, natural dyeing, garment construction, and embroidery to create wearable art - bringing story, function, delight, and beauty to everyday use. 

Read our Q&A with Hannah to learn more about what inspires Hannah as a maker and what you can expect from her Block Print Workshop! 

How would you describe your crafting journey?  

Craft has always been a part of the air I breathe.  One of my earliest memories is from the craft co-op where my dad sold his woodworking.  I was a small child tasked with entertaining myself while he ran the shop for the day, so I’d take my crayons and paper, crawl back between the hand-woven cloaks, and nest in fabrics, colors, and smells, just drawing the day away.

My crafting journey took some twists and turns as I spent a decade teaching and delivering teacher training with making relegated to the weekends.  In 2017, needing a space of my own as a new mother and a respite from the news, I turned my garage into a studio and have turned to making with renewed focus and inspiration.  Considering my early memories of finding inspiration in the co-op textiles it’s no surprise that I’ve found my way back to fabric design.  What inspires you and your work as a maker?  

I’m inspired by the endless opportunity to combine media, craft, and inspiration to create something new.  It’s mind-blowing to visualize the deep, rich history of human craft and to then have the opportunity to participate in that history as a maker, creating something unique that only YOU can bring to light.  Liminal spaces of creation always invigorate me, whether it’s this space between historical crafting tradition and my ideas or the space between different disciplines, like print-making and fiber arts or natural dyeing.  My work is driven by refining craft, drawing on its rich history, to create unique art that is ultimately functional and adds layers of meaning to everyday life.    How would you describe your design process and aesthetic?

My aesthetic draws deeply from the delight, connection, and regeneration I feel in nature.  I try to embody this in my work through color, texture, and layers.  And, my process feels like one of constant discovery, experimenting, combining, and doing it all over again!  Because I combine different disciplines, I always have something new to learn and apply, which keeps the design process exciting.  What do you want people to know about block printing?  

Block printing is accessible to everyone!  Relief printing has a rich and empowering history of democratizing information and art, from the early printing presses to political posters.  I think there is a need for this now more than ever.  This history and the nature of block printing imbue this craft with the potential to be radical.  That may mean upcycling your clothes with a unique design, wheat pastes in the city or giving away one-of-a-kind art pieces.  

Block printing is also accessible because it easily lends itself to repetition and pattern, meaning that by repeating simple shapes and motifs anyone can create visually stunning designs. 

What project of yours are you most proud of?

This year I’ve started combing block printing with natural dyeing.  I made a linen shirt that I printed with mordant, dyed, and then embroidered.  I’m excited by the potential of combining these techniques, as the possibilities are both endless and practical.  I don’t know if it’s what I’m most proud of, or just excited to explore, as I can feel a lot of potential discoveries around the corner, which is my favorite part of the making journey!  

What inspired you to start teaching?

One of my absolute favorite places to be is in a studio space with makers.  The special shared energy from a group of inspired people sharing their ideas, excitement, and vulnerabilities is unique to this special type of space.  I am passionate about creating these spaces and have always organized craft nights and get-togethers.  Sometimes it’s quite random like when a passing neighbor stops by and, then, before we know it we’re elbows deep in ink and a printing demo.  I’m a teacher at heart, whether in the classroom or out, and I’ve always loved how energizing it is to spark excitement, curiosity, or confidence in someone!   

How do you approach teaching skills to others? What do you hope participants get out of your classes? 

My approach to teaching ensures that students leave with the skills and resources to continue the craft and refine their skill.  It’s never just to produce an item but rather to produce the knowledge and inspiration so that students can continue to bring their ideas and inspiration to life.  To achieve this I teach in a workshop style, with demos focusing on technique interspersed with lots of making time and a strong focus on creating a collaborative environment where students are part of a community of makers, sharing inspiration.  

What is special or unique about this class? 

This class will be unique in that it includes an art exchange!  I believe deeply that learning a skill and making art are really about connecting to the world and to each other, so we’ll embody that by printing and exchanging patches.  This utilizes the uniqueness of block-printing for making multiples and captures the essence and inspiration of block-printing in community.  Plus, everyone gets to leave with their own mini-collection of original art! 

What is your go-to playlist or podcast to listen to while you work?

I still listen to my childhood public radio station from the Southern Appalachian Mountains when I can. (WNCW)  It’s played more or less continuously in the background through my making journey no matter where I’ve lived, and feels like a bit of home.  They play eclectic music that app algorithms just can’t compete with! 

Dive into the world of block printing and gain the skills to customize anything by signing up for Hannah's Block Print Workshop here! 

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