Hand-block printing, also known as woodblock printing, is a centuries-old art form popular in India, China, and other East Asian countries. In India, a hand-carved teak wood block is dipped in dye and stamped by hand onto the fabric to create a beautiful print.
The block printing process is one of the most artistic and slow ancient practices of adorning a fabric.
- First, a design is created that is carved on the wooden block. These designs are often traditional Indian motifs influenced by the region’s nature, beliefs, and customs. They form geometric patterns, animals, or plants. More blocks of the same design are carved if multiple colors are to be added.
- The artisans then, trace the motif onto a wooden block, usually made of teak. The woodblock is oiled and sanded before the craftsman carves the block for stamping.
- Before printing the fabric, it is prepared by simply washing or dyeing with a base color.
- It is then laid flat on a table and fixed firmly to the table.
- To start the printing, the woodblock is dipped in dye and stamped firmly by hand onto the fabric. This is done for all the colors.
- Lastly, the dyed fabric is left to dry.
There are little imperfections in this printing, which are a part of what makes hand-block-printed fabrics unique and special.