Hand Block Printing or Wood Block Printing, or simply Block Printing is a technique of printing patterns on textiles, using carved wooden blocks. It is an ancient, and the simplest and slowest of all the processes of textile printing and can be traced back to the ancient civilizations of China and Egypt.
The art made its way to Rajasthan, India, about more than 500 years ago, and was practised by the Chippa Community. This art of Hand Block printing has been passed down for generations within families and communities, and therefore, has spread to a major part of Rajasthan.
The very first requirement of Wooden Block Printing is a block. So the required design is first drawn on paper with the appropriate dimensions, and then the same is carved out into a wooden block. A single print might use many different blocks, depending upon the design and the colours to be printed on the fabric. Once the blocks are ready, the artisan prepares the colours which are to be used to print the fabric, and puts them in wooden trays that are kept on mobile trolleys. The fabric is then tightly tied to large tables. The artisan dips the appropriate block in the appropriate colour and stamps it on the fabric. The block has to be dipped in colour each time the stamp is to be tapped on the fabric. The 'thak-thak' sound when the artisan stamps the wooden block on the fabric, is synonymous to this art form, and is like music to the ears of the artisan. Once the entire fabric has been handblock printed, it is kept to dry. And once the entire fabric has dried, it is washed in water, and again dried. That's how Hand Block Printing works.
The minor human hand irregularities, which are inevitable in such type of art, makes each design authentic, and is the USP of such art form. Block prinitng is practised in the open spaces of the villages. It is a technique that is based on decentralised production, which was preached by Mahatma Gandhi, who emphasised on keeping majority of the people employed in their traditional environment. Since the art is practised within the villages, it brings in a considerable number of women workers as well.
At Bhaili, you can find apparels which have been curated using this ancient technique of textile printing, by artisans coming from families who have practised the art for generations. It's a privilege for our team to be working with such gems of our country, and help save and promote their art, and the legacy of India, through our products.