About This Craft
Hand block printing is one such technique, which involves carving a desired pattern or design on a wooden block, covering this block with ink or dye and then stamping it on the fabric. While blocks can be made up of stone; but for better results they are more commonly made from wood.
Hand block printing designs are cherished since Mughal era. However, recently hand block printing has taken a different route. It has been an elaborate technique ever since it is known. Hand block printing has always been one of the most admired arts, but many facets are added to it, to update it as per the current fashion trends.
The traditional process of hand block printing on textiles, with rich natural colors, has been practiced in Rajasthan for around 500 years.
THE HALLMARK OF HAND BLOCK PRINTING
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.
Patterns are etched onto wood with the help of needle.
The most common woods used for wooden printing blocks are Sheesham & Sangwan. These woods seasoned in water or oil for some time before they are brought into use.
Designs are meticulously carved by hand into the blocks which are approximately 18-25 cm across. 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 or ‘rekh’, 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 or ‘datta’ and possibly the ground color block or ‘gud’ depending on the color scheme used.
Color Mixing-Preparing the Dyes
Once the blocks are carved, the master printer prepares the colors which will be 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.