THE INTRICATE ART OF BLOCK PRINTING
Block printing or Wooden Block printing is an ancient art that is believed to have originated in ancient China. The beauty about block printing is that it is a manual labour of art on fabrics whereby a desired pattern is carved on the block by printer. The wooden block has a handle and holes to drip away excess colour. Once the pattern is carved on the block, it is soaked in oil for a few days to soften the wood and to make it more functional. The fabric on which the prints are to made is spread and fastened by pins to ensure it is secured properly. Once the border is made as an introductory process, the wooden blocks are then dipped in dyes of desired colours and pressed on the surface of the cloth forming synchronised patterns. Depending on the intricacy of the patterns, different design blocks are used. If the output needs to be colourful, multi-coloured dyes are used to create a juxtaposition of finely crafted prints. These prints could be in the shapes of flora, fauna, abstract, geometrical designs and a host of others. Unlike the machine printed sarees, block printed sarees need utmost precision, hours of painstaking effort and creativity. This art is special and it is still practised by artisans across the country spread across various states, towns and cities. There’s a special charm about block printed sarees. Apart from looking stunning, cool, elegant and pleasing to the eye, it is the most preferred style of printing by women who believe in sporting Indian traditional sarees that remind them of their deep values. Each print imprinted on the sarees shows the sheer passion, dedication, acumen and talent of the printer. There is a conscious effort to preserve this very skilled and popular art to be passed down generations. Hand crafted fabrics have a special feel to it.