Artisanal Handblock Printing: The Journey from Concept to Creation

The profound dedication and intricate craftsmanship behind our timeless pieces consists of 5 steps: 

1 Artistic Drafting 

2 Sheesham Wood Carving 

3 Alchemy of Hues: Mixing the pigments 

4 Precision in Patience -the printing 

5 Sunlit Setting: The Art of Drying

 

1 Artistic Drafting 

The genesis of a print is no simple task; it starts with a complex design meticulously drawn on paper, demanding both vision and precision. 

The drafting process is critically important, as not every design can be successfully translated into the medium of wood carving. This necessitates a perfect harmony between artistic expression and technical feasibility, ensuring that each detail in the drawing can be effectively and accurately carved.

 

2 Sheesham wood carving

This intricate blueprint is then transferred to a block of sheesham wood, where the art of carving unfolds, a challenging and time-consuming process that transforms raw wood into a vessel of beauty and storytelling.

These motifs are carefully carved by hand into the blocks, which usually have a diameter of around 18-25 cm.

 

3 Alchemy of Hues: Mixing the pigments 

Once the blocks have been carved, a master printer prepares the colors to be used for printing.


The colors are then poured into wooden trays. A handmade, wafer-thin but close-meshed net is stretched into these beforehand so that the paint can spread evenly on the underside of the hand block. The inks used are 100% AZO-free, environmentally friendly inks. Each new ink is thoroughly tested for potentially harmful substances before use.

 

4 Precision in Patience -the printing 

The blocks are used to stamp a single motif piece, which is then stamped in rows across the fabric to create a seamless harmonious pattern.

Each color of the design is carved into a separate block. Block carving, as well as correct stamping itself, is an art that takes years of apprenticeship and dedication to master.

It is done with love, entirely by hand and must be done with millimeter precision. First, the base color, known as "gud", is always stamped. This is followed by the outline of the pattern, the "rekh", which is the most complicated. Traditionally, floral or grid-like patterns are chosen for this. In the final step, the filling block, the "datta", is used to complete the pattern. The artisan stamps the block into the ink tray before each stamping, which is essential to achieve an even pattern. 

This process requires a considerable amount of skill and time, as the sections of the patterns have to be repeatedly stamped onto the fabric piece by piece. 

The slight irregularities that are unavoidable when working by hand create the typical effect that is characteristic for block prints. The end result of this complex work is of timeless beauty and each garment made in this way is unique. A master printer must carefully align each block during printing, using the mark carved on the left edge of the block as a guide. 

Each master printer has a slightly different style, which is considered their 'signature'.

 

5 Sunlit Setting: The Art of Drying

The final step in our block printing process is the crucial drying phase, conducted under the sun's natural warmth. This stage is vital for achieving the bright, vibrant colors that characterize our prints. The timing of the drying must be meticulously aligned with the printing process. Fabric printed with our natural dyes is laid out to dry on large fields, where the intensity and duration of sunlight play a key role in setting the colors firmly into the fabric. Too little sun and the colors may remain dull; too much, and they might fade prematurely. 

This delicate balance guarantees that each piece not only radiates with rich color but also retains its luminous charm over time, ensuring that you can enjoy these exquisite prints as timeless treasures in your collection.

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