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Block Printing


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  • 1. Ashutosh Vatsa Pankaj Pathak
  • 2. Block printing on textiles  is the process of printing patterns on textiles, usually of  linen, cotton or silk , by means of incised wooden blocks. It is the earliest, simplest and slowest of all methods of textile printing. Block printing by hand is a slow process. It is, however, capable of yielding highly artistic results, some of which are unobtainable by any other method.
  • 3.
      • It yields very low production.
      • The cost of set up is very less.
      • Very skilled personnel is required to do such printing.
      • The cost of making a design is very less, however durability of design is very low, being defined by durability of block, usually made of wood.
      • The variety of designs is dictated by the skill of the woodworker who carves those designs.
      • The size of design pattern repeat can be larger.
      • There is a limitation of width of the fabric- which is dictated by the width of the table.
  • 4.
    • Hand-block printing is an inseparable part of cultural heritage of Rajasthan.
    • There are two types of block printing famous in the state of Rajasthan namely
      • Sanganeri – printed on white background
      • Bagru – printed on black and red background
  • 5. SANGANERI PRINT BAGRU PRINT Techniques of Hand Block printing
  • 6.
      • In Rajasthan Colorful prints of Birds, Animals, Human figures, Gods and Goddesses are popular.
      • The important centers for this form of are Jaipur, Bangru, Sanganer, Pali and Barmer. Sanganer is famous for its Calico printed bed covers, quilts and saris. In Calico Printing, the outlines are first printed, and then the color is filled in. Bold patterns and colors are popular. They are printed repeatedly in diagonal rows. 
      • Doo Rookhi  Printing is also famous here. In this technique, artists print on both sides of the cloth. 
  • 7.
      • Bagru is famous for its  Syahi-Begar  prints and  Dabu  prints.
        • The Syahi-Begar Prints are designs in a combination of black and yellow ochre or cream.
        • The Dabu Prints are prints in which portions are hidden from the dye by applying a resist paste. 
      • Barmer is known for its prints of red chilies with blue-black outlines, surrounded by flower-laden trees. The other famous prints are of horses, camels, peacocks and lions, called  Sikar  and  Shekahawat  prints.
  • 8. Blocks are made of seasoned teak wood by trained craftsmen. The underside of the block has the design hand carved on it by the block maker. Each block has a wooden handle and two to three cylindrical holes drilled into the block for free air passage and also to allow release of excess printing paste. The new blocks are soaked in oil for 10-15 days to soften the grains in the timber.
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      • The fabric to be printed is washed free of starch and soft bleached if the natural gray of the fabric is not desired.
      • If the borders are to be made, then the cloth at the border area are tied then dyed before printing.
      • The fabric is again washed to remove excess dye and dried thoroughly.
  • 12.
      • The fabric is stretched over the printing table and fastened with small pins. This is an important stage as there should be a uniform tension in the fabric and no ripples.
      • Color is mixed separately in another room. Usually pigment dyes are used for cotton.
  • 13.
      • The number of blocks needed per design depends on the number of colours used.
      • A tray is filled with the pigment and the block is placed into it to collect the accurate amount of dye.
      • The tray, which contains a metal grid with layers of fabric laid on top, is filled with dye. The dye soaks through the fabric, which then acts as a colour pad against which the block is to be pressed.
  • 14. Coloured pigment is mixed with a thickener or binder. A sheet of polythene is used to keep the pad from drying out. A printing pad made from two layers of muslin and one layer of hessian.
  • 15.
      • The block is then placed carefully on the fabric and struck with the heel of the printer`s hand. The process is repeated until the entire cloth is covered.
      • Each colour has its own block and each Colour can vary owing to the weather and as it is printed in five metre lengths can vary within a collection.
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      • The fabric, after pigment printing is dried out in the sun. This is part of the fixing process. It is then rolled in wads of newspapers to prevent the dye from adhering to other layers and steamed in boilers constructed for the purpose.
      • Once the cloth has been steamed it is washed to remove excess dye and the resist paste.
      • Hand block printed fabrics are best washed in warm water with a gentle detergent so that, the colors remain rich and vibrant.
  • 18. Pattern made by hammering metal nails into a block of wood Pattern carved from a block of wood
  • 19.  
  • 20. Pattern made with nails Carved blocks
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  • 24. Chemical Dyes
  • 25.
      • Pigment dyes
        • Pigment colors are mixed with kerosene and a binder. The consistency should be just right, for if it is too thick it gives a raised effect on the material, which spoils the design.
        • Pigment colors are widely popular today because the process is simple, the mixed colors can be stored for a period of time, and new shades evolve with the mixing of two or three colors.
        • The pigment color is made up of tiny particles, which do not dissolve entirely and hence are deposited on the cloth surface while rapid dyes and indigo sols penetrate the cloth.
      • Rapid fast Colors
        • In this process, the ground color and the color in the design are printed on white and/or light-colored grounds in one step.
        • The dyes once mixed for printing have to be used the same day.
        • Standard colors are black, red, orange, brown and mustard.
        • Color variation is somewhat difficult and while printing it is not possible to gauge the quality or depth of color .
  • 26.
      • Discharge dyeing and Printing
        • These dyes are used if you need to print onto a dark background. Medium to dark grounds are dyed on fabric with specially prepared dyestuff .
        • The printing colors then used on the fabric contain a chemical that interacts with the dye. This interaction simultaneously bleaches the color from the dyed ground and prints the desired color on its place.
        • The primary advantage of this process is that vivid and bright colors along with white can be printed on top of medium and dark grounds.
      • Napthol / Reactive dyes
        • There are two sets of chemicals which upon reaction produce a third chemical essentially colorful in nature.
        • Fabric is dyed in one and later printed with the other. The chemical reaction produces a third color.
        • However, the biggest drawback of this process is that there are just a few chemicals available which produce colors upon reaction.
  • 27. Vegetable / Natural dyes
  • 28.
      • Bagru Black
        • This is derived by mixing acidic solution of iron - often rusted nails/horse shoes etc. with jaggery (country sugar) allowed to rot for about 10-15 days.
        • Many other natural substances used for producing dyes are pomegranate skins, bark of mango tree, vinegar, slaked lime etc.
      • Bagru Red
        • This dye is achieved by combining a source material such as alizarin with alum, the results ranging from pink to deep red.
      • Indigo Blue
        • The internationally famous Bagru Blue is obtained from the indigo bush found throughout India.
  • 29. Facts and problems of 'Heritage Craft'
      • Around 154 block print units functioning in Sanganer, Jaipur that provide employment to around 3000 families.
      • Textile exports rest at over Rs 1000 crore from the state and almost Rs 400 crore is generated by way of ready-mades and furnishings made with block prints.
      • The Sanganeri block print awaits patenting.
      • Sanganeri block print is in the throes of a storm as the craftsmen and the state pollution control board confront each other.
  • 30.