July 8, 2011

Block printing:the journey

Its less than 15 days for the fair now!!Travel with us!!

From the roof of the mansion comes the rhythmic sound of clinking metal. Abshar Husain, fondly known as “Bhaijan” a wood block carver, sits on the stone floor with a small hammer and delicate chisel. With each tap, he carves part of the outline of a flower into a block of teak.
Wood carving is one step in the Indian tradition of hand-block printing, which for centuries has adorned royal robes, religious cloths and flowing skirts. Bhuj is a minefield of artisans and craftsmen. Bhaijan, 50, began learning the craft from his father when he was 8. His grandfather was also a wood block carver. It takes him 10 days to carve a large and intricate floral block.
Photo credit: Craftmark
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Bhaijan with his son Asif and nephew Aman-creating blocks
And then the process of making pigment paints for block printing process, along with the final version of printing on fabric. Pigment dyes are mixed with kerosene and a The consistency should be just right, for if it is too thick it will give a raised We are lead to this block printing space, with its apricot-colored walls and carved windows, this small workspace creates.
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“Bhaijan” talks continuously while working from his rack of colors and blocks. On the upper most shelves are trays of dye, below which are the printing blocks. These blocks are then dipped in dye and imprinted onto the fabric from left to right. A point on the block serves as a guide for the repeat impression. This technique continues in layers if there are multiple colors to complete the design. He showed us a fabric that had 14 layers of block printed paints, a complicated printing and dyeing technique similar to the one used in Ajrakh, in the western Indian state of Gujarat. 

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We learnt that in the village of Bhagru, patterns traditionally denoted marital status and caste. For example, gardeners wore cloth patterned with flowers, widows could not wear a dagger pattern and middle-aged women wore marigold patterns. Vaishali, our Craftmark manager tries her hand with Bhagru Black-paint derived by mixing acidic solution of iron - often rusted nails/horse shoes etc. with jaggery (country sugar) allowed to rot for about 10-15 days.The first try gets the approval from Bhaijan to continue!!!!
Upstairs the clinking continued…His sons are learning this tradition…. 

We would like to thank the Craftmark team for all the travels and effort they are making to bring us these wonderful products. If anyone is interested in traveling to see and meet"Bhaijan" at work let us know!


Green Printer said...

Hi, I visit your blogs and read your content. Your content and blog both are very nice.
Green Printing

The Green Elephant said...

Thank you Green Printer! Am glad you like it :) Email us more about yourself if possible.

shilpi said...

Hi, great job done, I really appreciate your creativity, time and efforts you have put in this project. It has really come out to be nice. gud luck.

The Green Elephant said...

Thanks Shilpi! :)

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