Block printing is an amazing garment design technique that uses wooden blocks, beautiful colors and exquisite designs. This sophisticated process has been in use for centuries in India. But, Why is it so popular? Let’s find out!
Origins of Hand Block Printing
You might’ve heard of a simple canvas painting trick wherein you had to cut a ladyfinger into two halves. After that, you need to dip the cut-end of the ladyfinger in watercolour and stick it on the canvas. Voila! You have your hand-printed canvas ready. This was merely an illustration to help you understand how block printing works.
Hand block printing originated around 3000 B.C. This technique was chiefly adopted as a tradition by the Mesopotamian civilization. It then made inroads into China & eventually India around the 12th century. It was the royal maharajas that made this alluring technique popular.
It is the Indian state of Rajasthan that boasts of well-known traditional hand block print designs. These fabrics have a huge demand in foreign countries. That’s why they are exported to various countries every year! Apart from Rajasthan other states that have adopted this amazing technique are Gujarat, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh & Andhra Pradesh.
How is Hand Block Printing done?
Although various techniques are used in different places, the basic block printing process remains the same:
- A carved wooden block with a beguiling design is used.
- It is dipped into a colorful natural dye (can be a mixture of colors too).
- The wooden block is then pressed on the fabric to imprint the design.
- The spacing is meticulously measured to ensure the consistency of the design.
- Once the fabric is completely imprinted with the design, it is thoroughly dyed. This process is followed by washing to ensure color preservation.
Other Methods of Block Printing:
The discharge & direct printing methods are used in most of the Gujarati & Rajasthani prints such as Sanganeri & Bagru. However, the popular Batik method uses the complicated Resist block printing technique.
Why did Hand Block Saree get famous?
As we saw earlier, block printing has been a part of our Indian tradition for a long time. The influx of foreign cultures & traditions coupled with modernization in design techniques helped block printing to get more popular.
During its earlier days, hand block printing was an extensive process with a few alluring designs. It still is! But, the rural artisans gave this technique a boost by incorporating a plethora of designs. Nowadays, block printing technique is being used to give beguiling designs to kurtas and most importantly sarees.
One of the main reasons for the popularity of hand block printed sarees is the nature of the printing process. It is very complex due to the artistic designs and the dyeing process. These sarees are exclusively hand-made by some of the most skilled artisans in India. That is why such sarees carry an aura of elegance around them.
Other ready-made sarees go through the regular machine process which is common for almost 50-60% of sarees. This is one of the reasons why hand block sarees got famous.
You can find a gamut of block print sarees in India. They are typically distinguished based on:
- Designs - The design usually depends on the wooden block used for the printing process. Artisans from different states opt for various designs as per local traditions and culture. For example: Rajasthan Block Printing.
- Colors – Local colors come into play. However, more and more artisans are using a fusion of colors to make the sarees look classier.
- Motifs – This depends on the type of fabric & the design.
- Techniques – There are various techniques which can be used to make a hand block saree. Each technique is unique!
- Fabric – Block printing can be done on various fabrics. So, you can get Block-printed Silk sarees, Linen sarees, Chanderi sarees and many more!
Here is an interesting detail that might nudge you to get a block printed saree. Most of the block printed sarees are eco-friendly because of the natural dyes. The artisans do not use any form of synthetic substances. So what are you waiting for?
If you are planning to get a hand block saree, then you should check out Triyah. Triyah boasts of some amazing hand block sarees made by local artisans that you can own & flaunt.