HOW TO Block Print
The knowledge and expertise of natural dyes and mordants in Rajasthan is unparalleled, particularly with mordants, ensuring the brightest shades of colour are unfaded.
These mordants include metallic salts which not only prevent the pigment to wear away, but actually create colour too. The quantities of mordants are only known unto the ‘dhobi’, a group of artisans who prepare and wash fabrics.
Using Teak wood, the carvers then soak the blocks in oil before chiseling delicate designs in open studios, in and around the villages.
After being carved, the blocks are then dabbed onto handmade ink pads made from layers of cloth and pigment to start the printing process carried out by the ‘Chappanas’ (stampers). They stamp with a firm thump thump on top of the block to create a full and unbroken print on to the fabric.
The printing is carried out by eye and with such accuracy. Across the new textiles are giveaway signs of the human hand, neat imperfections,
the unreplicable beauty of this craft.
Every part of the multistep process evolves amongst winding streets in ancient villages. But like many Indian villages, a lot of these are being engulfed by urbanisation from expanding nearby cities like Jaipur. However, these communities still live very traditionally, where society is structured accordingly to inherited roles and customs. India’s caste system is less apparent in cities, but villages like these still operate accordingly.