THE HANDCRAFTED TECHNIQUE OF WOOD BLOCK PRINTING

One of the most impressive techniques we've had the chance to discover thanks to our craftsmen is undoubtedly the technique of wood block printing.

The handcrafted technique of wood block printing in India

This tradition of textile printing is very ancient and takes its roots in Egypt and China, dating back to 500 BC. But it is in India where it takes its entire sweep from the 12th century and would even precede the paper printing.

Nowadays, the refinement of Indian textiles (silk, cotton, linen) embellished with block printing is recognized worldwide, and allows a great part of Indian craftsmen to meet their needs, especially in the northern region of Rajasthan.

For a long time, the patterns engraved by hand on the wooden stamps, were a sign of recognition between tribes, regions or profession. Today, this distinction no longer exists, but the handcrafted manufacturing technique has not changed.

The first step is to draw the pattern in pencil on paper, and then to reproduce it on a block of wood (previously prepared with a flat surface). The wood can be extracted from different types of trees, but it must be thick enough to prevent the piece from curling. Note that there will be as many stamps to carve as colors present on the final pattern. The wood carver is generally very experienced and has always practiced this trade; he uses a chisel and a hammer to cut the wood of the shape of the drawing.

<A wood stamp engraved by hand

Then comes the stage of delicate printing, performed by a painter called Chhipa. There are several printing techniques, but the one used by our craftsmen Ichcha is called Dabu. Literally, "dabu" means "mud": it is actually a semi-liquid paste composed of natural ingredients such as clay, gum and wheat bran. The dough is not modeled by machine or by hand, but by the force of the feet, just like the treading of the grapes which was formerly practiced for the manufacture of the wine. The Dabu is then applied to the pad with a block of wood or a brush, then the Chhipa sets to gently deposit the pad coated on the textile. Thus, it will act by reserve effect on the textile, that is to say protect the coated area of ??Dabu, dyes that will later cover the fabric.

Block Printing, the Dabu technique

The textile is then dried in the sun for long hours in order to fix the Dabu impression in the fibers. This step should be repeated as many times as there are patterns on the final drawing. This work is done by someone specialized in drying textiles, called Rangrez.

The last step of this fabulous printing technique is the dyeing of the textile from natural pigments (flowers, plants, spices). It is indeed soaked several times in a dye bath by a master dyer (or dhobis) until the color is the desired one. Our Ichcha craftsmen also use a lot of indigo in their dyes.

Natural dyes with natural pigments

Once the pattern is impregnated on the fabric and the color is firmly attached, the fabric is cleaned and dried.

Textiles are sundried

Find on our online store, all handicrafts made by our Indian artisans Ichcha, from the technique of block printing, which here is an overview :

DIYA-housse-de-coussin-artisan-indien gaiora RADHA-housse-de-coussin-artisan-indien gaiora TREE-housse-de-coussin-artisan-indien gaiora
DIYA Cushion Cover
RADHA Cushion Cover
TREE Cushion Cover
PATTA-echarpe-indigo-artisan-indien PHOOL-echarpe-indigo-artisan-indien gaiora set-serviettes-table-indien-artisan-gaiora
PATTA Scarf
PHOOL Scarf
INDIGO Napkins set

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