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, which are influenced by nature, beliefs, and customs of the region. 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 wood block is oiled and sanded before the craftsman carves the block for stamping.
- Before printing the fabric, it is prepared by either 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, woodblock is dipped in dye and stamped firmly by hand onto the fabric. This is done for all 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 so unique and special.