Block Print: The Traditional Art of Hand Printing..

Block printing is a traditional art form native to Rajasthan & Gujarat, India. This is a 'resist' form of printing & dyeing… a process of labor-intensive steps that require mastery, especially in wood-block carving & stamping. Artisans hand carve a wood block with patterns inspired by local flora and fauna or geometric constellations. It is then dipped into natural dye, and then carefully stamped on the fabric, creating beautiful patterns.

Each color needs a separate block and intricate designs can take several days to carve the blocks. Fabric is desized with a mixture of herbs to make it absorbent for natural dyes extracted from plants, minerals and flowers. Artisans press the carved wood block with wet dye onto fabric and reapply at precise spots for pattern continuation. When the pattern is complete, the printed fabric is washed or boiled for the final color to come to surface. The color changes throughout the process — shade variations can be dramatic depending on the weather, temperature & fabric's exposure time in sunlight while drying. Since these are dyed & washed in drums, and printed over small tables, the batch size is limited in production, giving every piece a distinctively handmade, unique and rich feel.

The fabrics used are sourced locally and are mostly cotton. All dyes used are natural, extracted from vegetable & mineral sources.

Our block print artisan partners live in scattered rural villages that are challenged by poverty and lack of infrastructure in their isolated communities. There are few opportunities for jobs in this desert region, where the climate is too dry for agriculture. We partner with local entrepreneurs, who help create employment opportunities for local people. Master craftsmen & national awardees help train local youth to learn this craft as a means of livelihood.

SETU focuses on economic, social and environmental upliftment of these communities and provides development solutions such as solar power, training and health care. With support from SETU, this group has now market opportunities & sustainable income. We have not only conducted skill development & motivational training workshops for the artisans, but have sponsored an entire water recycling plant to save water resources. The million litre water saving project has taken this environment friendly art form to a much higher sustainable level!

Pl scroll below to check the products made by these artisans.