The History and Process Used In To Finish The Outstanding Hand Block P – chhapaijaipur

The History and Process Used In To Finish The Outstanding Hand Block Printing

The History and Process Used In To Finish The Outstanding Hand Block Printing

There are some traditions that are universal. Here, we highlight a single craft — and how it’s being adapted. Hand block printing is a centuries old art form popular in India, China, and many other East Asian countries. It is also referred to simply as “block printing” or “woodblock printing.”

In India, this ancient printing technique utilizes a hand-carved teak wood block that is dipped in dye and stamped by hand onto cotton or silk. The result is truly unique, hand block printed fabric that connects us to a rich tradition and history of handmade crafts.

Indians possessed unparalleled expertise in the secrets of natural plant dyes, particularly with mordants (metallic salts that both create color and allow it to adhere to fabric).

A series of combinations of mordant and resist stamping and dyeing enabled Indian printers to create uniquely complex designs, coveted from Southeast Asia and palaces of Mughal emperors to the far-flung capitals of Western Europe. Between outside influences and the diversity of the subcontinent’s own indigenous communities and tribes, India has yielded one of the most magnificent pattern vocabularies ever. And yet for the past 200 years the industry has been on the precipice of extinction, doomed in part by the popularity that helped create it.

The traditional process of hand block printing on textiles, with rich natural colors, has been practiced in Rajasthan for around 500 years.  Block printing was introduced to the Jaipur region of Rajasthan by the Chhipa community. This community was originally located in Bagru Village, an area now famous for its vegetable dye and mud resist (dabu) block prints.  The art of block printing has been passed down for generations within families and communities and has branched out in recent decades to other regions. In traditional Bagru style block printing, the ‘recipes’ for the traditional plant-based dyes are developed within each family and kept alive from generation to generation. The colors are dependent on the quality of the plants, the water and skill and knowledge of the printing masters.Here is the process:

Block Carving

A print starts with the design, drawn on paper and carved into the Sheesham wood block.  Designs are meticulously carved by hand into the blocks. The physical block is the design for a single repeat which is then stamped in rows across the fabric. Each color in the design is carved into a separate block. The outline block is the most intricate and usually stamped first; it is typically the outline for a floral or lattice type design. Next comes the fill block and possibly the ground color block depending on the color scheme used. Block carving is in itself an art requiring years of apprenticeship to gain mastery and is done entirely by hand.

Color Mixing-Preparing the Dyes

Once the blocks are carved, the master printer prepares the colors which are used in printing. The colors are then poured into wooden trays and the blocks stamped in the color each time, then stamped onto the fabric to form the repeat pattern.

Printing Process

Each color pattern is stamped individually onto the fabric; the process takes skill and time, as the pattern must be stamped repeatedly across the fabric, color by color. The slight human irregularities — inevitable in handwork — create the artistic effect emblematic of block prints. The final outcome of this intricate labor is a timeless beauty, and every garment made from this fabric is unique.

The printing master carefully aligns each block as he prints. Each printer has a slightly different style which is considered his ‘signature’ look. The printing master then follows the same pattern of aligning the blocks with each color layered onto the design. The subtle gaps and overlaps are a beautiful reminder of the hand work and give block printing it’s iconic look. All prints exemplify this aesthetic and have a subtle pattern of light/dark across the design.