If you are a lover of traditional art, beautiful color patterns, and designs that you are always ready to embrace, then the block print is the first on your wish list. Block printing is a conventional method printing that goes way back to 220 AD originating in China. In India, this technique dates back to the 10th century as a method of printing designs on textiles. Over the years, this oldest traditional art form has proven its importance for us, and it remains the first choice of designers maintaining its evergreen trend. The conventional way of block printing is performed using the woodblocks and is a complete manual and a sweating task. Conceptualized design is transferred onto the piece of wood by tools as chisels, small hammers, and drills in the form of elaborate patterns ready to be brought to life. Now, these designs are amalgamated with the perfect colors and transferred onto a piece of cloth. Can you imagine all these tedious tasks to give a pure material an appealing look, takes 3 to 4 weeks?
What is block printing?
It's simple! As the name says blocks used for printing. But where’s the printing done? Of course, on cloth. Artisans replicate the designs from paper stencils on the wooden blocks, carve them and then soak them in mustard oil for at least a week. This process proofs the wooden block and avoids its damage in dry weather. Being the oldest textile printing technique, a lot of traditions and hard work of the craftsmen reflect in its final product. Most of the blocks made for the printing are intricately designed on the Indian Teak or the Sheesham wood.
What are the Motifs used in Block Printing?
In Indian block printing, few motifs have been there for centuries, such as a beetle leaf, animals as elephants and peacocks, small and delicate bootis, and more. With modernization, some fascinating prints carrying the traditional legacy at the same time giving you the modern touch have come into existence. A few of them are cars, cycles, chakras, creepers, kettles, etc., now you have to name the motif, and you can get it on the print.
What is the process of Block Printing?
The professional artisans who have been following this age-old tradition belong and work from Indian villages. Comprehensive work is involved that includes high skills, patience, and backbreaking labor to transfer the complicated designs on the fabrics. The cloth is first washed, dried, laid on long tables, and thoroughly stretched to remove the creases. Now the blocks are dipped into the dyes to print the designs on the cloth. Colors like indigo, green, mustard yellow were used in the initial days, but today you will find it in all colors.
Did you know that in the Blocking Printing technique, printing always begins from left to right?
Are Daboo and Block printing the same?
Yes! Dabu or Daboo is the same as the block print. It is an ancient mud resist hand printing method which originates from Rajasthan. The designs and motifs of both the printing are quite similar. But the process of Daboo printing is very intricate. The process involves many workers and different stages of wash, print, and dyeing. Once the plain fabric is ready for printing, the motifs are transferred through the blocks by the meticulously done hand printing. Now the step comes, which makes it a little different from block print; the artisans pat mud resist over certain parts of the design to make it unique. Dabu is made from mud, gum, lime, and waste wheat chaff. To dry the mud paste sawdust is sprinkled over the cloth. This entire process of covering some part of the design with Dabu, protects it from the dyes used, later on, giving it a unique and prismatic effect.
Be it the regular Block Printing or the Daboo printing, both are strenuous, time-consuming, and a mammoth task. The diversified designs and the customization which is possible in this method bring out extremely unique and unmatched combinations.
Saatvik is a word derived from Sattva, meaning one that is pure, true, clean, strong, and vital, and so are the Block Prints.
‘Make life simple’ are the words we all should live by, every day. Looking around when you see a baby smiling, sea waves kissing the shores and the sun camouflaging itself between the clouds undoubtedly tell us how simple life could be. We are in the process of making lives more straightforward for the people who put in all the hard work to put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle in place for completing the Monk & Mei’s ensembles. Appreciating the efforts put in by the artists who are the creators of some beautiful block prints, we have identified them from rural parts of India and brought their manufactured elegant and distinctive fabrics to you in the form of aesthetic attires ready to be donned by you. Each of these works has a heart touching story of the person who made it behind the scenes. We know how valuable each of the masterpieces is. These are ready to add the value of simplicity to your life. Are you prepared to contribute simplicity to their as well as in your life?
Did you know the craftsmen who are block carvers, printers, and dyers belong to the Chhipa caste originating from Rajasthan, India?