‘India, wrapped in mystique and the romance of fabled crafts, has one of the finest textile traditions in the world’.
Image Source: www.creativeroots.org
The intricate art of Indian block printing is a labor-intensive job, it has survived in its original form since ancient times because of the sheer beauty with which each design is translated on fabric.
Though its evidence in Indian subcontinent is dated as far back as 3000 BCE (found in ruins of Mohenjo Daro), but its earliest recorded use is said to be flouring from China, and later on picked up by India.
Image Source: www.travelsintextile.com
To make a product with block printing technique takes time, patience, team work and most importantly skill. The major portions of block printing are preparing the blocks, printing and balancing the dyes. To prepare the blocks with intricate patterns and designs, it can take upto 30 days, and the printing involves laying the paper or fabric on flat surfaces and then impressions are made on them using the carved blocks. In case of direct printing, the block is dipped in the colored dye and impressions are made. Another technique called the resist dyeing is also used in which the impression of an impermeable material (clay, resin, wax etc) is made on the fabric, which is then dyed in the desired shade. The block image remains un-printed and reappears in reverse. Traditionally natural and vegetable sources were used for dyes, but now usage of synthetic dyes is also rampant.
Image Source: http://www.craftcanvas.com/diy-block-printing-kit
Block printing is practiced in many different geographical regions of India with each area having its own particular local aesthetic. The main centers where block printing is practiced are — Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Each of these regions traditionally had distinct design elements with unique color schemes and motifs however, the commercialization of the craft has seen a convergence in design elements between the various regions.
The appeal of block printing has taken it to markets far and beyond, driving this tradition to the corners of the world. Even though the traditional block printing craft has flourished over the past three decades, with an increasing demand from the world over, this traditional cottage industry is still struggling to earn decent standard of living and is facing an increasing threat from mushrooming of screen-printing units that are selling similar products, often designs copied from block prints as genuine block printed products.
Many households, even villages function on this traditional art form, and have laboured it with love for generations to give you art that is imbibed in our history forever. It is our duty to do our best in nurturing them and encouraging them with every little chance we get. Our collections are designed from the authentic fabrics crafted by these artisans using the age-old block printing method.
Check out the collections in the links below: