Let me take you back two decades to my high school art class at Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio. Imagine an itchy, wool plaid uniform skirt rolled up at the waist and unsuccessfully hacking a wood block to make a simple leaf. I remember thinking, “I’ll never do this again.”
Needless to say, when my co-owner, Joanna, said we should bring block print items into the shop, I was skeptical. But I’ve come to love this art – and even more the local artist, Sue Henry of Tulusa. Her work is far from sophomoric, so we’re excited to announce that March is Tulusa month at Boxwood.
Sue just vibrates creativity when she walks into a room – and it’s not just her baseball hat, leather jacket, and kicks. She started her career producing large scale sculptures but moved into working with fabric about four years ago.
Woodblock printing is one of the oldest forms of artwork, originating in China and India around 200 AD. According to trusty Wikipedia, the earliest woodblock printed fragments to survive are from China and are of silk, printed with flowers in three colors. Block printing was the standard method of producing wallpaper until the early 20th century and is still used by a few traditionalist firms.
Today, she and her team work from her studio attached to her home in the heart of Del Ray on Commonwealth Ave. They design and carve the blocks and print yards and yards of heirloom quality linen with colorfast, non-toxic inks that are mixed in-house. Each piece is made to order – and worth every penny.
In my opinion, Sue has brought the ancient craft into today’s every day – with amazing, vibrant colors and exceptional patterns on best in class linens. When she’s not spending late nights in the studio, she’s hanging with her husband and two boys aged 14 and 12.
Please join us in supporting our local Alexandria treasure and celebrating her artistry throughout the month of March. Follow us on Instagram for weekly giveaways. Or you can stop by the shop to see new Tulusa goods and the show-stopping wall she block printed in Annie Sloan® Chalk Paint®.
Sue will also be leading a workshop at Boxwood on the evening of Thursday, March 19 where participants will carve their own block and print tea towels (I promise wine, unlike my high school art class). Tickets are available on www.boxwoodoldtown.com and Eventbrite.
Boxwood was born out of the idea that our homes should be as vibrant and colorful as the people who live in them. So our decorative items and gifts bring a fresh, modern look to Old Town – everything from pillows and table linens to furniture painted with Annie Sloan® Chalk Paint®.
128 South Royal Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Sunday & Monday: 12pm – 5pm
Tuesday – Thursday: 10am – 6pm
Friday – Saturday: 10am – 7pm