The Art of Hand Block Printing

Man hand block prints fabric
Many of Passion Lilie’s fabrics are hand block printed using vegetable dyes. Wondering what "hand block printing" actually means? You're not alone. The ancient craft has experienced a rise in popularity over the last few years, with the value of handmade garments skyrocketing in the fashion industry. As consumers become more and more disenchanted with fast fashion giants, the pendulum swings in the opposite direction - toward slow fashion created by fairly paid artisans. 
Block printing is an ancient Indian art that utilizes a hand carved teak wood block. It is dipped in dye and stamped by hand onto cotton or silk. 
Wooden blocks carved for block printing

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.

Person uses block to print on fabric

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 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 wooden block is dipped in a color tray then applied by pressing it firmly on the cloth. 

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. 

Set of block printed fabrics and wooden stamps

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