The Art of Hand Block Printing

Posted on July 22, 2013 by Katie Schmidt | 0 comments

Many of Passion Lilie’s fabrics are hand block printed using vegetable dyes. What is Hand Block Printing you may be asking! Well, hand block printing is an ancient Indian art form that utilizes a hand carved teak wood block that is dipped in dye and stamped by hand onto cotton or silk. 

Hand blocks and hand block fabric designs.

                       

First the designer creates a design or pattern for the fabric on the computer or paper. A master craftsman then traces the design onto the block and chips away the block to create the design. Creating the block can take 7 to 10 days, depending on the complexity of the design.

A hand block printer.

The fabric is pre-washed in the river in order to reduce water consumption. It is then bleached or dyed, laid flat on a table and fixed firmly to the table with pins. Four to five basic colors are used that are mixed together to form a multitude of colors. The colors are sometimes made with vegetables or plants in order to create a natural dye. The process of block printing is done from left to right during which the woodenblock is dipped in acolor tray then applied by pressing it hardly on the cloth.

A hand block printer. 

Good printing requires skill and practice in order to create uniformity and clear block printing patterns. The duration and cost for printing depends on the number of colors used i.e. single color printing takes less time and has a lower cost whereas two or more color printing requires more time, hard work and ink. 

hand block printed cotton fabric.

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