For the July issue of InStyle magazine I was asked, “What’s your favorite hostess gift?” I’m quoted, “So evocative of summer in New England, these block-printed place mats can be given as a set. Or you can frame one to hang on the wall.” I adore Sarah Elizabeth Block Printers! Her studio is one of my favorite local treasures. I have a whole box of placements I picked up on my last visit to Sarah Elizabeth’s studio in Rockport, Massachusetts. I send them to friends as little reminders of New England. The linen lobster placemat is adorable and perfect paired with simple tabletop accessories. My sister and I both had the placemats framed too!
Linen lobster placemat, $18.
Sarah Elizabeth Block Printers in Rockport, Massachusetts thirty year old shop is a living museum honoring the work of Folly Cove artist Sarah Elizabeth. Established in Gloucester in 1938, the Folly Cove Designers were a guild of designer-craftsmen that grew out of a design course taught by Virginia Lee Burton Demetrio. After the designers disbanded in 1969, Sarah Elizabeth continued block printing and in 1974 opened the Sarah Elizabeth Shop.
Isabel Natti started block printing as a weekend job, and now, after thirty years continues to print the linoleum blocks she has designed and carved. The prints include scenes of nature and marine life on the coast of Cape Ann. The prints are available as placemats, runners, cards, and wall hangings. My favorite in addition to the lobster placement is, “Oceanside” a multi-block wall hanging depicting a fish company in Gloucester.
Update: I received a note from Rockport resident, Sarah Kelly, informing me Isabel Natti passed away over the winter. She was a lovely, talented artist and will be missed. Isabel had the foresight to pass on her studio to a young block printer, Julia Garrison. I look forward to visiting the studio this summer to meet Julia!
Above and below a photos from inside the studio back in the summer of 2010. Isabel is shown sitting in front of her 150-year old Acorn Press—a press she inherited from her Aunt Lee Natti. To find out more about Sarah Elizabeth including shop hours and purchasing info visit: sarah-elizabeth-shop.com.