Hand Block Printing

Hand Block Printing
Block printing is believed to have originated in China towards early 3rd century. Records of its presence in Egypt and some Asian countries were also found around the 4th century, from where it spread to Europe and other places. Apart from wood, blocks were made of metals and porcelain also. But wooden block remains the most sought after apart from metal ones which has gained popularity in recent times. In hand block printing, the design is first drawn on wood using a sharp needle and then the desired design is carved using the chisel, hammer, file, nails etc. The printing involves laying the cloth/fabric, which is to be printed, on flat tables and impressions are made using the beautifully carved blocks. In case of direct printing, the block is dipped in the colored dye and impressions are made. In case of resist dyeing, impression of an impermeable material (clay, resin, wax etc) is made on the fabric which is then dyed in the desired shade. The block image remains un printed and reappears in reverse. Traditionally natural and vegetable sources were used for dyes. But with the advent of synthetic dyes, things have changed, not necessarily for good. The ease of usage and the availability of synthetic dyes have replaced the vegetable dye in many cases.

Most of the Block Printing is done in Sanganer and bagru. Kalamkari Prints and floral motifs with pastel colors are done on the fabric. In kalamkari print normally four to five colors are used....
Kalamkari is the earliest and more complex techniques of block-printing on cloth using vegetable dyes. This flourished at Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The origin of the word kalamkari is from kalam...
The Resist Process called Dabu is used here involves using wax or gum clay mixed with resin. With the help of brush or block or by hand this is applied to the portions of the cloth. The color is then...
Villages of Jahota in Jaipur are famous for the jahota hand block printing. It is believed that Maharaja Jai Singh and his wife uplifted this art amongst the local artists. They both took interest...
The Ajrak resist-printing technique is found in Anjar and Dhamadka in Kutch. The painted Ajrak cloth has colours - blue, red, black and white, in several patterns --- resembling those found at Fostat...
The block print in Bagru is done mainly in beige, red and black. Shades of blue with much use of indigo blue dyeing processes is a characteristic of this centre. Bagru is also famous for its mud...
The local phulkari embroidery has inspired bold floral and geometrical designs, found on wraps and stoles. Due to commercial reasons, however, the focus has shifted to screen printing.
Sanganer, near Jaipur, is famous for its fine hand block printing in subdued colors. Hand block printing was patronised by the royal family. Sceen printing is also largely done here. Saganer has...
Javad prints in Indigo and Alizarine are mostly used. In the wax resist process done here the wax is applied using he block which is carved upto 10 cm in depth which can carry enough wax solution for...
The traditional block-printing running in parallel lines technique of Ajrakh has attained a peak of excellence at Balotra. Although a desert climate but good water is one of the main reasons which...
The main tribal group here and at Kishangarh are the Banjaras. Costumes are printed here along with jajams and spreads. The spreads are usually in red and yellow, with the design motifs being...
In the border town of Jaisalmer a kind of resist printing requiring very low temperatures is done. This can thus be processed only during the night and in winter. The resist used is wax, and the...
In Rajasthan, there are sandy stretches of desert where a unique method of cloth-dyeing prevails. The technique is called Ajrakh and the print is in dark shades of blue and red with geometrical...
Barmer, is famous for it hand block print. The prints are inspired from the Sind region. Various items that are made in Barmer are turbans, sarees and traditonally worn lungis, Head gear and shoulder...
The practitioners of this craft in Maharashtra are mainly migrants from other parts of India. The painting is done with delicately carved wooden and brass blocks. The cloth on which hand-printing is...
The traditional art of block is very old and is carried out with the vegetable dyes by the printers. The wooden blocks have embossed motifs which are dipped in the colored dyes and later pressed over...
Bagh, which lends its name to the Bagh prints is a small tribal town in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. The khatri community, who comprise the 'chhipas' or printers came here about 400 years ago...
Odhnis / chunris from Jodhpur are highly prized though they are made all over the state now. The technique followed involves the use of wooden blocks with nails projecting from them. These nails are...
Uttar Pradesh is an important centre for hand-block printing with the classical butis, paisley designs, and the tree of life as the main traditional motifs used in a range of shapes and in bold,...
Surat in Gujarat is the trade centre for Hand printed and mechanically produced textile material. Today Surat produces beautifully printed dress material, saris,wall hangings, table covers, cushion...
Udaipur and Nathdwara, the temple city here the designs are mostly relegios in nature. These designs are linked with Srinathji, Lord Krishna. Block Printing here is a part of Pichwai, a traditional...