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Block Shop


Block Shop

Next up on the IK Journal, are the inimitably colorful Hopie & Lily Stockman of Block Shop!

Suffice to say, we are massive Block Shop fans! Love to hear how it originally came about!

Well the original origin story is that we’ve been making art together since we were little kids growing up in a big family in New Jersey. Fast forward 20 years, and we ended up where we started: making paintings together on our kitchen counter.

Our idea to start Block Shop stemmed less from our interest in the textile industry and more from our relationship to one particular family of printers in Bagru, India who Lily got to know while she was living in Jaipur studying Indian miniature painting. Six months after Lily left, I (Hopie) came to visit Bagru to learn more about the master printers’ use of natural dyes and apprenticeship method of passing the trade down over generations.

So Block Shop really began as a passion project, with the goal of honoring and celebrating the tradition of hand block printing, while creating products in our own geometric design vernacular. It became our full time jobs after a year of running it out our living room in Cambridge, MA while I was in grad school (Hopie) and Lily was teaching. Now we’re in LA with a team of six women, and have a full collection of home textiles and framed paper prints.

What is your favorite part of the block printing process?

Probably the moment we get our wooden blocks back from our master block carver Raju. There’s something so thrilling about touching the wooden blocks with our own hands for the first time, because it’s the moment where our design idea (usually a watercolor painting or sketch) becomes a physical, tangible object. The block holds so much potential.

Suffice to say, you ladies spend a lot of time in India - what is your favorite thing to do/place to visit when you're there?

The highlight is always prototyping new stuff and meeting with our Women’s Empowerment Group, which starts with a song and usually ends with laughter / story telling / baby updates.

But our favorite daily ritual has to be waking up early with jet lag and sitting down for a proper, hour-long breakfast of french press coffee, masala omelettes and buttered toast, while the birds and honking horns usher in the day. We sit and chit chat while we paint in our sketchbooks like two old spinsters. In regular life we hardly ever find time for just the two of us to sit around and prattle on about life / our families / our business. Our best big-picture thinking happens during these breakfasts, which is what makes them so precious.