WOOD BLOCK PRINTING
We work with different block printing workshops depending upon the style of printing. We work with a family-run workshop that has a 500-year history history located in the westernmost part of the state of Gujarat in western India. We collaborate with another that specializes in Kalamkari textiles. Kalamkari has a history that dates back to 2600BC where cloth samples have been found at some of the world's largest and earliest archaeological sites. In the 18th century, Kalamkari was in high demand and during its golden age, During the Golden era of Kalamkari, Britishers exported it under the name of ‘Chintz’, French under the name of ‘Indiannes’ and the Dutch under the name of ‘Pintadoes’.
Each season we create our own hand-carved block design using various methods of printing. The wood blocks used for printing are created from an award winning collective made up of around fifty skilled artisans.
The processes are eco-friendly and the dyes and mud used are all natural and extracted from plants and minerals. The fabrics undergo a series of washes and drying sessions in the sun. There is a particular washing technique involving twisting, swinging and slapping the fabric against a wall. This is repeated several times until the water achieves clarity; assuring that the mud and dyes are fully rinsed off. The textile is then laid out for a final bake in the sun.
The finished textiles are unique as they are dependent upon the artist who works with the blocks. We use repetitive yet random designs, alternating between two blocks, that can be applied in a multitude of ways. What makes the finished product so special is that no yard is the same as the other.
Videographer: Rahul Jain
Words/Photos: Michele Janezic