I've just finished my hand printed artisan bread bag design and am super excited to share behind the scenes of my design process and workflow. If like me, you also love freshly made bread, especially artisan sourdough types that I can only dream of baking at home. A hearty loaf of sourdough bread is the first stall I seek out at the farmers market and fortunately we are lucky to live within close proximity of several artisan bakers here in East Lothian, U.K. Creating a hand printed kitchen linen to match my love for baked bread goods seemed a natural fit. That and a bread bag was still missing from my life!
Why You Should Use a Cotton Bread Bag
Aside from my clear love for the dough, my main reason for choosing to hand print cotton bread bags, was storing bread has always been a bit of a personal headache. Bread bins are too big and bulky for our kitchen, they take up too much counter/worktop space but bread bags offer the perfect solution. They are flexible, don't add bulk and can easily be popped into a tote bag for your trip to the market. I also stumbled across this article by Which? that rates cotton bread bags as the best storage method for fresh bread, keeping it softer and fresher for longer than other typical methods.
Multi Purpose Bread Bag
Functional textiles are super important to me when thinking up a new kitchen textile product, we live in a world where throwaway products are plentiful and sadly still the norm, so my designs and kitchen linens must have purpose, longevity and ideally be multi-use.
For me, a reusable cotton bread bag fits all of my needs;
- somewhere to store fresh bread for a few days that does not take up space
- using hardworking, organic cotton fabric lasts a lifetime and can passed on when no longer needed
- cotton bread bags not only make great storage, they can also be used as a bread basket for the table
- hand printed bread bags make beautiful gifts or even as a wrap when gifting someone a beautiful homemade loaf
How I Design a Hand Printed Bread Bag
When starting the design for a new hand printed kitchen textile, I like to draw some initial motifs and patterns, this design was made up of things I usually buy/eat/enjoy and so my cotton bread bag featured various types of bread products; baguette, rolls, croissants and some loaves.
Once I've drawn up some motifs I like to import them digitally to my iPad Pro - I'm a big fan of using my iPad and pencil to create digital work on the move. Working on a tablet fits in well being a busy mum and allows me to instantly adapt, edit and finish designs where I have pockets of time available.
With my finished design, it's onto carving it out from one or several lino blocks. I carve away parts of the block that I don’t want to print. When ink is applied to a lino block it will only cover the raised surfaces, which will be printed by hand onto the fabric. This part of the process can take the longest, depending on the design and detail, anywhere from a few hours to several days or even weeks.
Hand printing is a beautifully slow-paced art form and I love the variable results I get each time I print.
Once my blocks have been carved, I run a few test prints to check how well the detail and overall image has transferred onto my kitchen textile and if I am happy then it's onto printing a micro batch of kitchen linens, in this case my cotton bread bags. You can read more about my finished hand printed organic cotton bread bag here.