The process of block printing involves handcarved wooden blocks that are dipped into non-toxic dyes and stamped by hand on natural fabrics.
Carving the blocks
The process begins with the selection of the wooden block. The blocks are typically made from softwood such as teak or sheesham, and are carefully chosen for their straight grain and lack of knots. The wood is then cut into the desired shape and size, and the design is carefully carved onto the block using a chisel and hammer. Once the block is carved, it is seasoned in mustard oil for at least 3 days. This helps prevent warping of wood overtime and ensures that the block has a long life.
Before we print
Artisans use river stones that have been worn down over time to soften wet cotton fabric by beating the fabric on the stones. The fabric is then laid out to dry and lightened by the sun. This process removes dust and starch. To ensure the fabric absorbs dyes well and has vibrant colors, it is first treated with Harda, which contains tannic acid. The fabric is then dyed in cool water mixed with Harda powder. After dyeing, the fabric is laid out to dry in the sunlight, which will give it a yellowish tint that will disappear after washing.
PRINT PRINT PRINT
The fabric is stretched out on a flat surface and the block is dipped into the skillfully color matched non-toxic ink. The block is then carefully pressed onto the fabric, leaving behind a crisp and clear print of the design. The process is repeated multiple times using different blocks for different colors to create a beautiful pattern on the fabric. The result is a beautiful, hand-crafted print that is both unique and vibrant.
After we print
The fabric is washed in cool water after printing.
It is then boiled to fix the color using flowers from the Dhaura tree.
After boiling, the cloth is rinsed thoroughly and spun dry.
It is then left to dry in the sun before being sewn into finished products.
The imperfections in block printing add character and uniqueness to the finished print. The method of repeatedly stamping patterns onto fabric, color by color, using multiple blocks, requires precision. However, the slight variations introduced by human hands result in a one-of-a-kind artistic effect that cannot be replicated.