Hand Block Printing

Hand block printing

Art and culture are the two main pillars or rather say the foundation of any society. Our history, our present and undoubtedly our future too will not be untouched by the the pinnacles and glory of our incredible and astonished culture.

Creativity, innovation and beauty have always been a prime tool for any artistic work to create its unique identity in the world of art.

Fabric printing is one of the artistic works practiced widely in India and in other regions of the world too. Though fabric printing covers many such techniques where fabric material is made colorful using definite pattern or design and the color so used should bond with fiber, so that it does not fade even after the action of washing.

Indian Hand block printing

Textile printing is a very simple method and yes slowest too. ‘Bandhej’ is one such printing or dying artistic work which is not very easy and helps in earning livelihood for many workers. In this art die and tie method is used i.e., the plain sheet of cloth is tied tightly using thread by putting the things like coin and seed etc. according to the shape required. After tying, the fabric is dipped into the coloring solution and then rinsed again in lukewarm water. The last step of ‘Bandhej’ printing is the untying of the threads and thus a fabric with required pattern but of uniform one color is ready.

But if one has to go for more sharply defined patterns and they are to be repeated again and again, then we generally use hand block printing as a method. As the name suggests the printing on fabric is done using wooden blocks.

Wooden block printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia. Although this method was originated in china and later became popular in the entire world.

In this method a design is drawn on or rather say carved on a wooden block. Various designs can be carved on different wooden block depending on the requirement of the printer.

The most important step for the hand block printing is the formation of the wooden block. A block cutter carves out the wood around the heavier masses first leaving  the finer and more delicate work until the last so as to avoid any risk of injuring it during the cutting of the coarser parts when finished, the block presents the appearance of flat relief carving, with the design standing out. Fine details are very difficult to cut in wood so they are almost invariably built up in strips of brass or copper, bent to shape and driven edgewise into the flat surface of the block. This method is known as coppering.

Once the wood block or its substitute is prepared, it is dipped in color and pressed firmly on the fabric ensuring a good  impression by striking it smartly  on the back with a wooden mallet. Impressions like these are made in succession following the same style. The printer has to take into consideration that the next impression fits exactly to the first, and for this purpose the printer can use the pins at each corner the same pattern printing process Is followed till the full cloth is printed.

If the pattern contains many colors then the cloth is usually first printed throughout with one and then dried, and then printed with the second and the same process is repeated until all colors are printed.

In India block printing is mode of earning for many majorly in Jaipur.