Hand Block Printing
Hand block printing is a centuries old Indian art form that utilizes a hand carved teak wood block that is dipped in dye and stamped by hand onto cotton or silk.
The design for the block is usually a traditional Indian motif. The motif is traced onto a block by a master craftsman who then chips away at the block to create a stamp. Good printing requires skill and practice in order to create uniformity and clear block printing patterns. Small variations in the printing add to the unique charm of these handmade fabrics.
Block printing was introduced to the Jaipur region of Rajasthan by the Chhipa community. This community was originally located in Bagru Village, an area now famous for its vegetable dye and mud resist (dabu) block prints. The art of block printing has been passed down for generations within families and communities and has branched out in recent decades to other regions of Jaipur.
In traditional Bagru style block printing, the ‘recipes’ for the traditional plant-based dyes are developed within each family and kept alive from generation to generation.
Block printing is a labor-intensive, painstaking process which requires time, teamwork and a tremendous level of skill. For example, it can take five carvers up to three days to create a pattern in a printing block. And the printers may use as many as thirty blocks to complete one design!