Indian Block Printing

The article “Indian Block Printing: Three Main Techniques” that Author Rajneesh Dubey wrote in 2007 is a great resource for this fine art technique.

“Block printing, as name suggests, is the use of wooden blocks in the process of dyeing and printing. In India, block printing has been in practice since 12th century. Even before that in 6th century BC, there are references that India was maintaining trade relationship in cotton with Babylon. Thus we get the idea that India has very old heritage of cotton clothes. Block printing is so renowned for use of rich and vibrant colors. Traditionally, natural vegetable colors were used in this process but now-a-days synthetic colors are also in use.

There are three principal techniques of block printing:

a) Direct Printing:
In this technique of block printing, first, the cotton or silk fabric is washed to make it free of starch. Then it is bleached softly, if the natural grey color of the fabric is not required. Wooden blocks, also known as “bunta” are undergone minute designed carving at the bottom. These wooden blocks are used to print the fabric with the help of already prepared colors. Printing is first done at the outer sides of the fabric and then follows printing of inner areas. First the bigger details are covered then the smaller details are put according to the design.

b) Resist Printing: This is the technique which in fact, resists the dye to be applied on some particular areas of the fabric. The prints are designed in such a way that at some places there is no need of dyeing. To facilitate this, a mixture of clay and resin is applied on the areas where dyeing is not wanted. Dye though reaches the protected areas through cracks producing a rippled pattern. But it is taken as beautification. Then, the dyed fabric is washed. Further, the remaining areas of the fabric are normally block printed.

c) Discharge Printing: In this technique of block printing. First, the fabric is dyed in the desired color. Then, a chemical is applied to some regions of the fabric to fade or remove the color effect. Further, these faded regions are again dyed but in different color, so that a different color effect is produced.

Block Printing is done in various parts of India. Main centers of block printing in Gujarat and Rajasthan are Ahmedabad, Sanganer, Bagru, Farrukhabad and Pethapur. Ajrakh prints and Lepakshi prints are some of the most popular block prints.

For more comprehensive information on Indian Block Prints or any other craft form of India, please visit India Crafts.”

Article Tags: Blocks, Cotton, Silk, Block Printing, Indian Block Printing, Sanganer Prints, Bagru Prints, Farrukhabad Prints, Pethapur Prints, Ajrakh Prints, Lepakshi Prints, Direct Printing, Resist Printing, Discharge Printing, Wooden Blocks, Dyeing Technques On Cotton

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