Hand block printing- A Rundown
Standing 30 miles outside of Jaipur’s pink city, Jaipur is well known as Hand block print suit material in Jaipur for its dense speciality of textile artisans, who overcome cheek-by-jowl in a dust bowl of real family compounds that house a thriving cottage industry.
A printer at one of the workshops in Pink city carefully applies his hand block print material he is working on. Publishing of hand block processes has been jogging from the past so many years that there are lots of people carrying different types of hand blocks with various prints and sizes for printing on clothes.
The population here has block printing for over 300 years, an organization offering walking tours to hand block print material in Jaipur and textile workshops. He witnessed—and encouraged—a new renaissance in need for Jaipur's artisan wares. Now there are about 250 families involved in this trade.
It’s pretty much really what it sounds like, but let’s smash it down. Hand block printing material is an age-old art practised in India, published by the artisanal hands operating hand-carved wooden blocks on various homegrown clothes like mixtures of cotton and silk. Not as simple as writing it down, so we'll break it down into dead age-little history, how old is this art?
Astounding to find out that hand-carved printing has been over homegrown for nearly 400 years now. Yep, it's the craft form that's been here and is still practised from 4 centuries. These gifts of hand block printing were lent to Jaipur by the organisation Chhipa nation that was known to live in Bagru town. Their method was then acquired wholeheartedly in Sanganer south of Jaipur as well and in parts of Jodhpur.
Done with the basics and past here, let's break down the real process.
It's a 4 level method that goes into printing the fabric.
- Colour Making
- Finally, printing the fabric.
The first and the main job is the designing of the picture, major Sanganer prints that you'll find are most often a traditional Indian motif, which is typically impacted by the nature, attitudes, and traditions of the region. These motifs regularly take the form of geometric habits and Sanganer Plants.
The pattern is designed and created to fit in wooden blocks in a way that it can be continuously printed in the entire fabric. The prints usually have 3-6 colours which makes them attractive, the more attractive, intricate the design is, the more the number of colours involved, the more wooden block continuously.
These designs are then traced onto the wooden blocks, generally made of teak by the master craftsman and are then carved by the artisans using hands. The designs are commonly carved onto fences that range from 6x8 hairsbreadth to 10x12 hairsbreadth. These fences are then saturated in black soil for at least a day or two to make them last longer (some of them last a decade). It is a long method, every motif, every detail is carved by hands in the wooden blocks.
3. Colour Making:
Another efficient process, finalising that least and then stirring the colours using dyes and creating several shades is beautiful and alluring. It's the art of blending colour binder, dye, fixer and water which develops the wonderful shades that we see on the prints.
These colours are then substituted into the trays, with several levels of layers elegant and alluring is required on printing.
4. Printing of the Fabric:
Printing of the materials is done on the tables varying from 5 meters to 10 meters long with 4 layers of cloth below the actual printing fabric which soaks the more colour. Material is put horizontally on the table, and the printing begins by kneeling the wooden fences in the colour trays.
As we stated earlier, generally the meter sprint contains 3-6 colours, see our reference image of our Talia print which is printed in 4 colour layer by layer.
- Blue: blue colour is printed as the base because this is the major colour used in every print or local language "Gadh"
- Yellow: depending upon the vision and layering of colours, the yellow colour is printed as its the second base colour.
- Grey: this colour is used on a short basis only or in the unfilled gaps of the material.
- Pink: completing the print.
This printed material is then cleaned in the sun, which boosts in fixing the colour on to the cloth. This cloth is visible to check colour bleeding and reduce extra colour from the cloth and then it goes for fixing, in general term getting the cloth ironed and mankatheni print is rebuilt on the material.
Revolution in the Hand Block Printing from Traditional to Trend
This printing with hand blocks culture is an ancient culture. Years ago people wanted to show their art has started this trend of hand block printing on cloth which will further be used as curtains, pillow covers, bedsheet, sofa clothes etc. Mainly for sarees.
In the traditional era, all the work has to be done only by hands, later on, there is a big change in the making of printed material nowadays lots of industry have changed themselves from hand block to machinery but another truth is that there is a huge need of hand block.
Various ways a hand block printed material can be used:
1: Printing on Sarees: the profession of hand block printing on sarees is a traditional printing method. In Jaipur from different places, lots of industries and families print clothes with their hands. Also, these types of sarees are very costly.
2: Printing on Bedsheets: printing on the bed sheet is like they make a single design wood and punch on the whole bedsheet sized cloth.
3: Printing on Curtains: in the market, there is very less demand for printed curtains. Everyone loves coloured and animated curtains, there is very less demand for the printed curtain in the market.