Hand block printing is a traditional art form that involves printing and dyeing cotton, silk, or other fabrics using carved wooden blocks. This rich printing technique is also referred to as woodblock printing or simply block printing.
Originated in China, this distinct art form is quite popular in India and is known to be here since 12th century. This art was well accepted by Indian craftsmen and spread through various Indian regions and communities, so much so that today India is amongst one of the largest exporters and manufacturers in the block printing industry.
Certain communities in India have been learning and practicing this art for years, Chippa community is one such famous example. However, with growing modernization, the younger generation is heading towards other fields. In such a scenario, ASHA “COTTON FABS” is one such organization that is striving hard to keep their tradition alive and vibrant.
The process of hand block printing can be briefly explained as follows:
- Firstly, wooden blocks used for stamping are carefully carved by experienced artisans. The patterns designed on the wooden blocks are generally inspired by the nature or customary symbols, including leaves of various shapes and sizes, animals, geometric patterns, and all that a craftsmen can imagine.
- Fabric to be printed is then thoroughly pre-washed and sewn if required. This makes the fabric suitable for the process of printing and dyeing and ensures a sustainable manufacturing process.
- With ready to use fabric and carved blocks of wood, the blocks are dipped in the colors of choice and stamped with caution and force over the desired areas on fabric. Depending upon the design type and color combination, more than one block may also be required to create a perfect print.
- Lastly, the block printed fabric is washed and dried in the sun to result in a unique and eco-friendly creation of hand block printing fabrics.
Depending upon the processes followed by various artisans, the technique of hand block printing is further categorized into direct printing, discharge printing, resist printing, mordant printing, and rubbing etc.
Utmost care is required to come up with seamlessly created block printed fabrics. Right from designing the detailed patterns on wood to printing excellently, this art requires dedication and expertise.
In modern days, this traditional art form is struggling to compete with the arrival of other machine made and less labor-intensive manufacturing processes. This is why we as a society need to take appropriate steps to save this unique art from extinguishing by encouraging younger generations to get involved and investing in these priceless assets.
The house of ASHA “COTTON FABS” is working towards adding value to this age-old tradition by creating worthy and attractive block printed apparel, table cloth, paintings, bed linen, and more. Come, explore, and shop from the exquisite collection of hand block printing fabrics.