With the art of Block Printing, every print comes to life!

Block printing is one the earliest, simplest and slowest of all textile printing methods. 

Block printing as a form of fabric art is capable of yielding highly artistic results, some of which are unobtainable by any other method.

What is Block Printing?

Block print art dates back to as early as 3000 BC. History acquaints us with this art form as a tradition followed by Mesopotamians, where engraved patterns on coins were used as a medium to print. 

The images and block prints that are widely used in East India as a style quotient, originated in China. 

In India, this art flourished under the rule of the Maharajas, especially of Rajasthan and Gujarat, somewhere around the 12th century.

Block print art is a simplistic yet elaborate and laborious art form. What makes block print art so loveable is the sharpness, accuracy and fine detailing of the prints that are made on the fabric. 

This trait also makes this art form so loveable in the textile and apparel industry.

The wooden blocks of fine quality wood are made by carving designs into the wood. These blogs are the printers’ main tool when it comes to the printing process.

Rajasthan is home to block printing. This technique of block printing is used in both the fashion and interior industries. Good wood block printing requires skill and practice in order to create uniformity and clear patterns.

Block print art combines precision, timing and a keen sense of design aesthetic to produce a final piece that is filled with culture and style.

Block Print Art: Technique and Process

Wood blocks used for hand block printing are mainly made out of sycamore, plane and pear wood. These blocks can be different sizes, but for ease of work, they should be two or three inches thick. 

The wood's side edges are not carved and are left unfinished. Fine details are particularly challenging to carve in wood, and even if they are, they frequently fall off during printing. 

When the wooden blocks are finished, you can begin printing the cloth.

Wooden blocks are carved in a  way that perfectly captures the designer's vision. Simple geometric patterns or more intricate impressions are also possible with these hand-block printing designs. 

Designers shape hand-blocked designs to the best of their ability in order to meet the demands of both Indian and international fashion.

When it comes to the block print fabric, prior to printing, the cotton is soaked in a gentle bleaching solution. Next, it passes through a dye vat and between two rollers that squeeze out excess dye.

Finally, the linen dries on tall bamboo frames in the hot Rajasthan sun. Once the block print fabric is dry, it heads to the finishing units where the hot roller presses to smoothen the block printed fabric.

Part of the woodblock printing process includes making determinations about the best dyeing technique for the design at hand. Some warrant easy-to-mix pigment dyes while others require the luminous colours achieved by vegetable dyes.

When using block printing techniques on fabric, placement is crucial. The border is printed before the main pattern because printing is done from the outside in. 

The block printing design's outline is printed by artisans before any colour blocks are used. 

The block printer goes down the length of the table while dipping the outline block into the dye pad. Then, using the heel of his hand, he gently presses the block against the material.

Block print designs are fascinating. These block printing designs give the cloth an edge and make it appear beautiful.

In conclusion, Indian block prints have experienced a resurgence in popularity due to the bohemian aesthetic and interest in eastern spirituality.

Indian block prints today range from classic patterns to contemporary designs. In essence, the prints reflect both the past and the present at once. 

To learn more in-depth about this art form, download the BitClass app now!