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The Art of Hand Block Printing
Since ancient times, India is known for its unique arts and crafts. The most inspiring and ancient of them all are the different types of hand printing techniques used by people of varied customs and culture. One of the oldest types of printmaking, Block Printing has been around for thousands of years dating back as early as the fifth century BC. Essentially a carved material covered in ink to transfer an image onto fabric, the technique of block printing is very enchanting and inspiring and is done using different materials like wood, linoleum, rubber and many more. Lengthy and complex, the process of creating a block itself is quiet elaborate. Right from sketching a design, transferring it onto the block and finally carving the design on the block can take anywhere from an hour for small pieces to several weeks or even months depending on the size and detail of the image. These blocks are then used by skilled craftsmen to imprint the design onto the fabric. Depending on the number of colors and the intricacy of the designs, they may have to hand stamp the fabric some 500 to 2000 times to complete one saree!
In India, different types of block printing techniques are used by people of varied customs and culture.The major centers where it is done on a large scale are:
– Gujarat: In Gujarat, it is mainly done in Surat, Ahmedabad and Pethapur.
– Rajasthan: An integral part of Rajasthan’s cultural heritage, the two types of block printing famous here are Sanganeri and Bagru. These two styles of block printing are very similar to each other with the only difference beingin the background color on which they are printed. Bagru prints are done on dark background whereas Sanganeri is done on white background.
– Andhra Pradesh.
– Uttar Pradesh: InUtter Pradesh, it is predominantly done in Farukhabad.
– West Bengal.
A thing that distinguishes the block prints of the west from the east are that in western India the block prints are typically fine while in eastern part, the prints are bolder and bigger.
Lepakshi and Ajarakh prints are also examples of the type of block prints. The unique feature of these printing is the amount of printing variations that can be made in the same type of motifs.
Different Techniques of Hand Block printing
1) Discharge Printing
In this kind of block printing, firstly the fabric on which printing is to be done is dyed and then the dye is removed from the part of the fabric on which designs are to be made by use of a chemical. Later,the printed segments are treated so they can be re-colored.
2) Direct Block Printing
In Direct Block Printing, the cloth is first bleached, and then dyed with the desired color. After that block printing is done on borders with carved wooden blocks followed by inside the borders. The fabric used in this kind of printing is either cotton or silk.
3) Resist Printing
In this technique, the part of the cloth which is not to be dyed is covered with the paste of resin and clay. The fabric is then dyed with the desirable color. At this stage, the dye penetrates through the cracks which create wavy effects on the cloth after which the fabric is finally block printed.
Block printing by hand is a slow process. It is however capable of yielding highly artistic results, some of which are unobtainable by any other method. While in olden days it was done with natural dyes, artificial colors and synthetic dyes have now replaced them. The colors commonly used for printing are saffron, yellow, blue and red. Generally wooden blocks are made of seasoned teak wood by trained craftsmen. These blocks are known as Bunta. The underside of the block has the design hand carved on it by the block maker. Each block has a wooden handle and 2-3 holes drilled into the block for free air passage and also to allow release of excess printing paste.The new blocks are soaked in oil for 10-15 days before use to soften the wood.
Do It Your Self! :
The sheer joy of making symmetric designs on fabric is completely therapeutic and an experience to cherish. Today we share with you simple steps of doing it yourself, this most inspiring and ancient art that is extremely beautiful and a very relaxing experience.
1.Preparation of Fabric: Iron your fabric to remove all the wrinkles and tape its edges to the piece of cardboard to ensure there are no wrinkles in the printing surface and also to keep the fabric from ﬂapping in the wind.
2.Preparation of Custom ‘Ink Pad’: Measure about 4 tablespoons of fabric dye into your plastic container. Take 3 paper towels and fold them in half. Press them into the dye. When they’ve soaked up most of the dye, ﬂip it over.Your ink pad is now set.
Six yards of elegance and comfort. That is what a saree is. We don’t think ….
Weaving a eNew Story – The Handloom Weavers of India
Since the dawn of civilization, handlooms have been associated with excellence in India’s artistry in textiles and fabrics, and sari which is considered to be the most ancient piece of clothing has been inspiring generations of artists and craftsmen to weave their dreams and visions into creating exquisite handloom sarees. However with passage of time, just like the clacking sounds of the looms, the dreams and visions of these weaves too are fading away.In an attempt to bring handloom sarees back in vogue, Shatika has begun a revolution; a six yard sari revolution is a humble attempt at bringing back the lost love for handloom sarees. Dedicated to creating a unique interpretation of the age old craft, we travel to all colourful corners of the country visiting weavers,guiding them on the latest trends so they weave out the age old tradition with a modern touch and bring them online so you can savor the delights of hand picking them from the comfort of your homes.