The Art of Hand Block Printing and It’s Inception

by The Printroots

The process of printing on fabric is a prominent ornamentation technique. Across the textile industry, it is widely used as a method to enhance the style and value of the material. In this process patterns and designs are imprinted onto a fabric with the aid of colors. There are various ways through which these textiles can be printed on. Be it by hands or machines, the industry is using several printing approaches at a great pace. One of these many techniques is hand block printing.

With its founding roots in the countries of Japan, China and India, hand block printing has a rich and diverse history tracing back to the 5th century BC. India has been practicing block printing techniques in distinctive forms and variations. Different techniques like resist, discharge and direct style of printing are practised in different regions of the nation by various communities. The art of this practice has been passed down for generations within families and communities. Ajrakh print, Dabu print, Bagh print and Sanganeri print are some of the printing techniques that are native to India. Each printing technique and their designs vary from the other based on the locally available materials, weather and culture of the region which makes them truly unique. To put it in simpler terms, hand block printing is a slow and laborious process where wood block patterns are printed onto the fabric with the assistance of colours. For printing definite patterns, the designs are hand carved into the wooden blocks . These chiseled pieces are then covered with color and pressed on to the fabric in a repetitive form. While blocks can be of metal or stone too, wooden blocks are widely preferred because of its organic outcome.The colors used in this process were initially procured from various resources found in nature, but with the increasing rates of production, chemical colours have taken a dominant position in the industry.

One such sector in India that urgently needs support from a large audience is handicraft sector. Every person who is dependent on his hand skills for his livelihood requires support. Printroots is providing such platform to the local block makers, dyers and printers from where they can support their livelihoods. We urge people to kindly support local brands that are directly working with small communities and help them in growing.