Inside the design studio with Holly Firth from Block & Print

A love of block printing, discovered in the Himalayas, led Holly Firth to start her range of quilted bags and linen homewares.
Holly Firth Block and Print PortraitPhotography: Alana Landsberry

Some would think heading off to boarding school at the age of seven would be terrifying, but for Holly Firth it was an “amazing opportunity” that’s shaped who she is today. “My dad’s Australian and my mum’s Indian. I was born and raised in Sydney, but I attended an international boarding school in the Himalayas,” she explains. “I spent a lot of my school years in the mountains in India, which is where I get a lot of inspiration for my work.”

Holly Firth Block and Print Portrait
Holly dreams up new designs in her studio/office space. “Everything I do ends up being floral or something to do with nature, which is, I suppose, the ultimate inspiration,” she muses. (Photography: Alana Landsberry)

At a glance

Who: The artist and textile designer behind Block & Print, Holly Firth.
What she does: Designs block-printed cotton quilted bags and linen homewares.
Where: Holly is Sydney-based and works with artisans in Jaipur, India.
Why she does it: “Purely for the joy of it. I love that everything is hand-made from start to finish.”
Visit:, @block_and_print.

Holly Firth Block and Print printing
Holly’s designs are printed on textiles by artisans in India, using carved wooden stamps. (Photography: Alana Landsberry)

Every year, up to the age of 13, Holly left Australia and her parents behind and became immersed in boarding school life. She’d be away for nine months of the year and return for a three-month summer break. “I don’t remember ever being homesick,” she says. “I was in a dormitory full of girls and I made the most wonderful friendships with people from all over the globe.”

Holly Firth Block and Print carved wooden stamp
The carved wooden stamps are designed by Holly. (Photography: Alana Landsberry)

The students did all the usual subjects, and were also shown India’s rich and diverse crafts. “I remember visiting Rajasthan and seeing this beautiful block-printing process,” says Holly. “They carved the designs into a solid block of teak, which is then dipped in ink and applied to fabric. I loved the look of it.”

Holly Firth Block and Print mood board
She’s immersed in the process from start to finish, from inspiration to checking samples. (Photography: Alana Landsberry)

From Year 8 onwards, Holly stayed in Sydney to finish school. Then she worked in graphic design and met her husband Daniel. While pregnant with their third daughter, Holly felt ready for a career change. “I’d always been drawn to fabrics and prints so I thought, ‘Why don’t I do textile design instead of graphic design?’ Then I remembered all the beautiful crafts I’d learned about in my childhood. I went back to India and visited the villages where they do block printing and it kind of reawakened the love for it again.”

Holly Firth Block and Print art
Colour samples for new designs. (Photography: Alana Landsberry)

Holly learnt all about the process, got to know some of the artisans and decided to dip her toe into block print design. “My background helped me understand the different art forms there. I wanted to support something that wasn’t mass-produced, that was made by hand from start to finish,” she says. “I design all of the prints myself, then my team in India carves them into the wood and prints them onto the cotton and linen.”

Holly Firth Block and Print bags and bakcpacks
The detailed block-print designs feature on quilted satchels, cushions, weekend bags and other linen homewares. (Photography: Alana Landsberry)

Her business, Block & Print, was launched in 2019 with a collection of hand-printed cushions, table linen and cotton quilted bags. “I had a brand new baby and Covid hit, so it was an interesting time to start a business, but at the same time, the passion was there,” says Holly.

Holly Firth Block and Print studio
Flowers are a big inspiration for Holly’s work. (Photography: Alana Landsberry)

“I’m one of those people who has pictures of flowers on their phone. I can’t help myself.”


Despite the challenges and being busy with their three daughters, Ananya, 8, Alia, 7, and Sophia, 5, the business is flourishing both online and in boutiques who stock the beautiful products. “The toiletry and make-up bags are definitely the most popular,” says Holly. “I love them because they’re cotton and you can throw them in the washing machine, which is essential with kids.”

Holly Firth Block and Print artworks
Holly also creates original artworks such as watercolour paintings of peonies and poppies. (Photography: Alana Landsberry)

There are plenty of exciting things ahead for Block & Print, with commissions for original artworks coming in, on top of new collections and Holly’s recently launched block-printing workshops. “Not a lot of people are able to follow their passions for work,” she says. “I feel grateful that I get to do this.”

Holly Firth Block and Print Mughal Flower
(Photography: Alana Landsberry)

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