The earliest known examples of block prints come from China over 2,000 years ago. From there, it spread to India. It didn't reach Europe until hundreds of years later.
There is archaeological evidence that an early form of block printing on textiles existed in India as far back as 3000 BCE, during the period of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. It was not until the 12th century that the traditional art of block printing began to flourish. The states of Gujarat and Rajasthan are particularly renowned for manufacturing and exporting magnificent printed cotton fabrics. The art is not traditional to eastern India and was introduced to West Bengal in the 1940s. Highly skilled local craftsmen quickly mastered the textile art form.
This technique has been passed down from generation to generation. To begin with, a skilled artisan hand carves a detailed pattern into wooden or metal blocks. The block is then coated in desired color and pressed over the detailed pattern on fabric, this process is repeated with desired colors on the pattern on cloth. Each piece of block is stamped several times with colors on the fabric before the desired pattern with color turns out.
Block printing since its use for the first time in mainly the Asian region is now fast catching up because of its aesthetic designs and beautiful use of colors on the fabric. The technique is now increasing becoming popular in the form of apparels, curtains, bags, stationery, linen and other accessories. It has also increasing popular not only in India where it is one of the chief traditional designing technique on textiles and paper but also largely in the west which is one of its most sought after market and is increasing its customer base over the years.
The city of Jaipur has been a haven for block printing and is famous world over for its block printed products. Jaipur has not only preserved this craft but also improvised on it with time to suit the modern needs of people and their homes with varying tastes.
This popularized many floral and vegetal motifs, such as birds and the famous Paisley, or boteh or buta, design that can still be seen in contemporary motifs.
The motifs and colors of traditional block printing continue to appear in contemporary fashion culture, both in and out of India. Contemporary Mughal-inspired motifs have taken on an aesthetic simplicity whilst retaining the essence of floral-shaped prints.
If you are a fan of colors and indigenous craftsmanship, you would simply love the block printing handicraft of Jaipur. The exotically etched pattern and designs in beautiful colors reminiscence of the heritage and everything that’s unique about the city. The traditional technique was first used in China on wooden block as a technique to print text, images and patterns and later widely used across East Asia as an art form. Initially it was a method of printing with hand on textiles and later moved to paper also as a means to communicate.
The mark of the artisan is left in the subtle variation from piece to piece, which is one of the most endearing qualities of block printed fabric. The technique is so precise which makes the end product visually alluring to a discerning eye.
Carving the intricate designs on the wooden blocks is in itself a demanding job. Individual blocks used for the motifs are meticulously carved out of wood taking utmost care so that the superimposing designs align with each other seamlessly. The design sketches are first transferred onto the wood which is later carved by hand removing all the unwanted part of the wood so that the raised surface consists of only the required design. Carving a wooden block can take anywhere from a few hours to weeks or sometimes even months depending on the detail that is needed in the block.
We wanted to bring a new perspective to block printing. Using the ancient technique and drawing inspirations form the renowned forts and palaces of Jaipur, we meticulously created luxurious bedding collections.