The Art of Block Printing
CELEBRATING ARTISANAL SLOW FASHION
The art of block printing originated more than 500 years ago in the beautiful city of Jaipur, India. Most of the artisans come from families who have been practicing this traditional craft for generations. It is not just a job for the people of Jaipur- it is a way of life.
STEP 1- CARVING THE BLOCKS
The master carver takes a flat slab of sheesham wood, then traces the pattern onto the block. Then he slowly chips away the wood with very precise strokes to carve the pattern. For every print, a set of coordinated blocks are carved- one for each color.
STEP 2- CURING THE BLOCKS
The blocks are soaked in mustard oil for weeks, so that they don't absorb moisture and swell out of shape during the intense rainy season in India called Monsoons.
STEP 3- WASHING THE GREIGE FABRIC
The finest quality cotton fabric is washed and bleached dry in the strong Jaipur sun. Our canvas is now ready for printing!
STEP 4- PREPARING THE DYES
The color trays are manually prepared to match the exact Pantone shades the design requires. For certain techniques of printing like Bagru, natural substances like indigo, pomegranate, alum, and natural gum paste are used.
STEP 5- BLOCK PRINTING
The master printers now manually print every single color onto the fabric. The color is transferred from the color palette to the fabric using the wooden blocks. Every single motif is stamped 4-5 times over, each stamp transferring a single color. Put together, the patterns start coming to life.
STEP 6- STEAMING AND WASHING
The printed fabric is air-dried for a day, then is steamed in drums at extremely high temperatures to set the color. The fabric is finally washed in clean running water multiple times.
STEP 7- SUN-DRYING
It is then hung out to dry in the gorgeous Jaipur sun.