Hand Block-printing is an ancient craft whose origins go back to pre-historic civilizations. An art form of incredible craftsmanship and skill, the art of hand block printing has been passed down by generations of craftsmen. Although a time-consuming process, the artistic results of hand block printing deliver high on aesthetics and craftsmanship, compared to any other printing technique.
Origins of Hand Block-Printing
While hand block printing has been linked to ancient Egypt and Assyria, the most credible contender for its origin is India. Excavations from Harappa Civilization dating 5000 B.C have unveiled evidence of cotton fiber’s usage, and textile-dying and patterning techniques. The earliest surviving samples of block printed and dyed cotton textiles can be traced to 9th century B.C. So those sheer curtains, cushions and quilt with block-printed patterns in your living room, remember are a long tradition, almost as old as human civilization itself.
A process of sweat and skill
Hand block-printing is a laborious process that doesn’t only require significant man-hours but also a skill set that comes with years of practice. Perhaps why an authentic hand printed 100% cotton quilt or Jaipur quilt will be premium-priced.
The first step in the process is chiseling out blocks with beautiful relief carvings. Creating such blocks require not just good woodwork, but also astute creativity. These blocks are dipped in dye and pressed on the fabric. A printer may use up to thirty blocks on a single clothing to create the design detail. After this, the cloth is dried in the sun for the colors to soak in. The process leads to color variations, making every piece truly unique.
Almost Death and renewal
The advent of mass manufacturing of garments almost killed hand block printing, until it saw a tremendous renewal in the last few years, finally being recognized as a valuable art form. The Western world opened up to hand block printing in the 1960s, when it became part of counter culture fashion. Since then, hand block printed garments, linen and beddings have seen a steadily increasing demand by the Western audience. The distinctness of each piece, artistic acumen that goes behind, and the longevity of the textiles – are some of the reasons why both designers and audience have been mesmerized alike by hand block printing.
What to buy in Hand-block printing?
Watch our short video to see how this design was created - The Making of LOTUS GARLAND Collection.
The variations possible in color schemes and designs in hand block printed fabrics throw open a whole world of creative exploration. Jaipur in Rajasthan, India is famous for Jaipur quilts, a distinct printing style with colorful motif work that adds a touch of vibrant to all interiors. You can also explore other hand block printing styles such as Hyderabad’s Lepakshi prints, Gujarat’s Bagru style, and the world famous Sanganer block printing.
Transform your home, and transform their lives.
Exquisite duvet, quilts, bedding, table linen, cushion, curtains – there is no end to experimentation possibilities with hand block printing for your home décor. By buying these hand block printed décor and linen, you are also contributing to an art form that needs to be sustained and nurtured.
Remember, every piece of hand block-printed duvet or Quilt is a small step towards sustainability of the thousands of grass root artisans who are using skills and techniques passed down by generations. Make your choice today.