Traditional Indian Hand Block Printing
For a field trip and to research for my A Level Art Personal study essay, our teacher took my fellow art student and I (yes, there were only two art students in my batch) to the Regional Handcraft center in Bangalore. The people there were very friendly, welcoming and gave me all the technical details I needed for my essay. The ambiance in that studio was amazing! You could tell very quickly that each and every artist was passionate about the work that they do. There was so much to look at! Mugs of bright coloured printing dyes, intricate designs on printing blocks gathered together on shelves, the many many pieces of completed projects left to dry.
After Mr.Prabu Kumar (the hand block printing artist) explained the careful steps to successful block printing, he let us try it out. Let me tell you, it is not as simple as it looks! When applying the dye on the block, you have to make sure to dab it enough to get the colour all over the block but not too much so that it’s not uneven. When placing the block onto the cloth, it must be precisely on point or it’ll mess up the entire design. And what I found most difficult, the actual printing process: hitting the block with all your strength. For smaller blocks, there are no handles on the back of them but the big ones have thin handles and it’s the thin piece of wood you have to hit hard. It won’t work properly if you use your palm. It has to be the bottom of your closed fist. My god it hurt! I hit it as hard as I could but still couldn't get all the dye onto the cloth. Though my hand was pink and sore when I was done, I'm glad I experienced it. I now know how much physical effort goes into making a hand block printed piece and I wouldn't mind paying more for it.
If you would like to own beautiful block printed clothes visit Anoki. Anoki is a world famous Indian brand that uses traditional blocks prints to create modern cutting edge designs. You can check out their website: http://www.anokhi.com/
Here are a few of their designs: