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About Block-printing

Block-printing is an ancient art form which originated in the desert region of Rajasthan centuries ago. Indian block prints are among the most intricate and decorative in the world. It is a labor intensive process requiring time and tremendous skill. This complex craft, including the elements of block carving, dying, and printing is handed down generation to generation, insuring each family a unique style. 

The process is as follows: 

  1. Raw fabric is hand washed removing any starches or residues.
  2. Once clean, it is hung on tall bamboo frames or simply laid out on the ground to dry in the sun.
  3. The block designs are drawn or traced onto the surface of either rose or teak wood and then hand chiseled using a variety of hand tools. Each block is then attached to a wooden handle. The blocks contain several small holes to release air and excess dye.
  4. Colors are meticulously measured and mixed. 
  5. Cotton fabric is stretched over printing tables and fastened down to avoid movement and wrinkles while printing.
  6. The printing begins and the first impression is allowed time to dry. Next, color is applied to the second block and the cycle is repeated. Many prints contain between 5 to 10 blocks ( some up to 30!)  Each block must be aligned perfectly with the blocks that came before it to create a uniform pattern. 
  7. Once the painting is completed the swaths of fabric are hung again to dry.
  8. Next a final wash is done which sets the colors.
  9. Now the sewing may begin.

Baths for washing fabrics


Bamboo drying frames