Woodblock printing of textiles refers to the textile printing technique of printing patterns on fabric with carved wooden blocks. It is the oldest textile printing technique and the easiest. As early as the 14th century, Indians have been doing block printing and in China even earlier. Block printing is supposed to have originated in China.
Most of the motifs used in Indian block printing for centuries are still popular today, like the beetle leaf prints. But what I absolutely adore are some really cool prints which look traditional and at the same time modern – but looking at the prints it is not so inconceivable. Cycles, telephones, cars, elephants- you name it they have made a print out of it. And all look absolutely stunning.
The process followed by professional artisans who practice the block printing in Indian villages is long and complex. It involves high skill and hard labour and gives perfect intricate designs. The skilled artisans who practice block printing are in a class of their own. They use specially made intricately designed Sheesham wood ( Indian Teak) blocks for printing. Long tables are laid out and covered with cloth and the fabric is stretched on it. Vegetable dyes and chemical dyes were used to make the designs.
In this post, I will be outlining a process which gives you simple block printing using ingredients you have at home