7 juil. 2015

Block Printing

Woodblocks and Anokhi garment
I discovered hand block printing while I was in India. And I got totally amazed. In fact, just by seeing one piece of hand block printed fabric I felt beauty all around me.
After this confrontation with beauty, I wanted to know more about these pieces. I talked to the manager of the Anokhi store in Fort Cochin, Kerala. (Anokhi is an Indian company dedicated to the ongoing revival of traditional textile skills). I remember his gaze as I was questioning the technique. He had stars in the eyes. I was touched by this very fine art and so was he. He was very happy and moved to share with me what he knew about hand block printing. He also told me about the Anokhi museum of hand printing in Amber, Jaipur. That's a place I want to see some day.

So what is block printing ? I would say it is an ancient textile art to make beautiful fabrics. It's a hand made process that requires patience, dedication, precision and love. The creative process starts with teak wood. The hand block is carved out of wood to become a printing device. Vegetable colors are usually used for dyeing. This process offers a large variety of colors and patterns. Also depth and glare may result different from one piece to another. In fact, each piece is unique. Sometimes you can see small imperfections, for example a blurry pattern, but it doesn't matter, they make the piece even more beautiful because they carry the quality and the humanity of the people who made it.

Anokhi pamphlet and woodblocks
Here are some astonishing figures…
* A fine block takes 2 days to carve and wears out after about 800 meters of fabric.
* The printer stamps the cloth approximately 1000 times to complete 3 meters in 5 colors.
* The printer may use from 1 to 30 different blocks to complete a garment or a quilt.
* From raw cloth to finished product, an item passes through at least 20 pairs of hands.

Block printing has been inspiring me since then. It stayed in my mind for the rest of my trip in India. In Delhi, right before heading back to France, I found in one of those Indian Bazars, a tiny shop selling only woodblocks. Once again, I felt amazed. They were all different. Big, small, heart shaped, rounded, squared… All absolutely beautiful. I wanted to get some but I did not know how to proceed. The young man working there told me "just let you heart speak". And that's what I did. I came up with six woodblocks. In the small basket he had given me previously, I could see harmony. So I bought them all.
Back to France, I've been using them once in a while, on fabric to make clothes and on paper. Actually it's great on paper. You can personalize a card, an envelope or even a notebook. When I use them I feel like a child for the process is so simple. And it gives me the opportunity to see clearly how beauty and simplicity are connected. Enjoy this magic from India ;)

Anokhi and Fabindia fabrics

1 commentaire:

Block beauty a dit…

We can choice different prints on saree with different colors,and variety of clothes.
Block Printing |Block Printing Blocks