The Heritage of Wooden Block Printing

Wooden Block printing is one of the traditional art techniques of printing that has its roots in ancient history. And Wooden Printing block is a creative mode of printing beautiful patterns, designs, and colors on the surface wherein the image or motif is traced and carved on the block by a craftsman.

The art of Wooden Block Printing is a printing technique or process that has survived somehow from ancient times to the present.

What is Wooden Block Printing

Wooden Block printing or Block Printing or Relief Printing may be a technique for printing text, images, or patterns as a way of printing on textiles and later paper.

Block printing may be a traditional sort of fabric design that’s still used extensively today. It is a simple and instantaneous printing technique that will produce rewarding results on fabric and paper. In essence, block printing is remarkably almost like rubber stamping, with many of the printing skills being transferable.

Wooden Block  Block printing is also an incredibly creative process. With just one wooden printing block you can create endless designs and variations on a theme, and become an instant fabric designer.

Wooden Block Printing History

As a way of printing on cloth, the earliest surviving examples from China date to before 220 AD. Wooden block printing existed in Tang China during the 7th century AD and remained the foremost common East Asian method of printing books and other texts, also as images, until the 19th century.

Ukiyo-e woodblock prints is the best-known type of Japanese woodblock art print.

Most European uses of the technique for printing images on paper are covered by the art term woodcut, apart from the block-books produced mainly within the 15th century in India.

There have been claims by several countries having block printing originated/developed in their country but several pieces of evidence have been found in India from ruins of ancient civilizations that date back thousand years. For Example Scraps of clothing found in the ruins of Mohenjo Daro, provide evidence that block printing was practiced in India in 3000 BCE.

Since the 12th century, the art of Wooden  Block Printing has flourished. The artistry flourished further with the receivable of royal patronage. Rajasthan and Surat in Gujarat became the important trading centers of printed textiles particularly in Block Print art. Today Block Printing has gained new heights by reaching the different corners of the world.

Types Of  Wooden Block Printing in India

Here are the Top 10 Wooden Block Printing/ Fabric Dyeing Techniques of India

  • Bagh : An indigenous printing technique from the state of Madhya Pradesh, the name originates from the Bagh district, where it is most practiced. It essentially refers to a technique of block printing by hand where the colors used are absolutely natural.
  • Kalamkari : Distinct kinds of cotton hand-printed or block-printed material; Kalamkari originates in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  •  Ajrak: A particular kind of block printed shawls from the western states in India where they display designs made using block printing by stamps.
  • Dabu: Dabu or taboo originates in Rajasthan and is a beautiful mud resist hand block printing technique. It survived the test of time with some difficulty and is a time-consuming printing technique involving many phases and a great amount of labor.
  •  Gold and Silver Dust: Dust of precious metals like gold and silver is used in this age-old technique to give textiles a feel of exquisite zardosi and the sparkle of gold. Over the ages, the technique has adopted the use of more affordable metals like mica and champion.
  •  Sanganeri: Sanganeri is a kind of block printing that originated in Rajasthan, adorns home decor materials as well as apparel.
  •  Bandhani: A tie and dye technique that dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization, bandhani is popular amongst all.
  •  Leheriya: A simple dyeing technique popular in Rajasthan, it results in striped textiles in a huge variety of bright colors. Cotton or silk cloth is subjected to resist dyeing.
  • Batik: This kind of print revolves around selective soaking of cloth in a color and preferentially printing it using wax.
  • Bagru: Being popular Jaipur in Rajasthan, the printing technique is laborious but produces exquisite results.

There are two sorts of Woodenblock printing famous within the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan namely- Sanganeri and Bagru. These two styles of  Woodenblock printing are almost the same, the thing which primarily distinguishes them from one another is the color of the background on which they are printed.

How to do Wooden block Printing on fabric

Wooden block printing is a typical process and takes time. The printers use several wooden printing blocks to complete a design. The process of Woodenblock printing begins with wooden printing blocks. Woodcarvers carve designs into wood planks/blocks. The top of the wooden printing block has a handle for the printers to hold it.

The next step within the process is that the arrangement of the material. Workers stretch several layers of jute fabric over a long rectangular table. The jute is a pad to supply resiliency to the printing surface.

Printing is done from left to right. When the printer dips the printing block into the dye/color then presses it onto the fabric, the printer also slams the back of the printing block hard with the fist to create a clear impression. Then the printer moves the printing block to the next portion of the fabric to be colored.

As they work, the printers pull a wooden cart bearing their printing blocks along with them. The wooden printing blocks can be interchanged from one piece of fabric to another, creating different patterns. Custom designs and different colors are often used from one fabric to a different one, creating still more individual work.

Each color of a design is completed by a special printer, coming behind the one before and repeating the method. The process requires teamwork, as each subsequent printer must place the block accurately to make a gorgeous, whole pattern.

Once the pattern is finished on the entire length of cloth, the piece is treated to repair the dyes. This process of block printing has been used for centuries and is still in practice.

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