The Art of Block Printing
In our last blog for Block printing, we have come to terms with what exactly is this technique about. We have also studied its history and Importance. Now here we will cover up this practice as an important souvenir from Jaipur – the city of Royals.
In a small corner of north India, generation after generation of families are keeping the art of Rajasthani block printing alive. Their main focus is on creating handmade, ethical designs with Indian artisans.
Once customers or guests get their heads around what’s involved – the intricacy, the skill, the handiwork of each design – they see these designs anew and afresh on every creation.
The Art Of Rajasthani Technique Of Block-Printing
In Bagru you will see how tradition and modernity are merging to maintain this centuries-old craft alive. There is a place called Chhipa ka Mohalla. Chhipa ka Mohalla is the largest community of printing hubs. The literal translation of ‘chhipa’ is ‘to print’. And here in the village of Bagru, the specialty is exquisite block-printed textiles, a craft that’s been passed down from generation to generation since the Mughal era. Therefore, Block printing is a traditional Indian textile art that is still dominant today. The art is not restricted to only textiles. It is used in the production and design of wallpaper, decorative items, and bedding too.
For centuries, the most commonly used fabric for textile block printing has been cotton, followed by jute and silk. The aesthetics of block printing owe much to the skills of the woodblock carvers and textile printers. Accuracy and patience are vital in block printing to harmonize motifs and colors in the final creation. Even with twenty printers the painstaking process for a single garment can take eight hours to complete. Though, the result is exceptional and one of a kind.
Vibrant colors such as blue, yellow, red and saffron are frequently used in block printing. However, the choice of colors that are available is endless. There is a diversity of designs originating in different parts of India. It ranges from traditional figurative designs of animals, Gods, and flora to contemporary graphic geometrical designs. You may take a tour of this city and learn more about the art and questions related to it with City On Pedals Jaipur Heritage Walking Tour.
Changes That Have Taken Place In The Art
Hand-block printing techniques have changed little over the millennia. It was traded across India, Arabia and the Far East. Traditionally organic dyes were used to imprint wood carved patterns onto natural fabrics. Madder root is still used for red, rusty iron solution for black and indigo for blue. This process is still followed today in traditional hand-block printing studios. The journey also reveals the many changes that have taken place to enable it to remain relevant.
How migration changed the dressing habits
In addition to the aforementioned change in the production, consumer preferences have also seen a paradigm shift. That mainly because of changes in lifestyles and the resultant job opportunities amongst others. A major reason, which contributed to the change in consumer preference, is the migration of communities. As a result the dressing habits changed and a the demand for traditional crafts declined. Although the Government undertook many initiatives to promote crafts in big cities, the artisans faced limitations.
To give a push to the industry, the government began workshops and training programs to upgrade the skill levels. Presently, many art programs run on a regular basis, which helped the artisans to take their crafts to an internationally.
A new company was formed under the name of Jaipur Integrated Texcraft Park Private Limited (JITPPL) now known by the Brand name of Jaipur Bloc. Most of the members of COTEX became shareholders of JITPPL and land was bought under the Promotional Scheme of SITP of Government of India. Thanks to this the Block Printers Hub was created. JITPPL is designed as an eco-friendly textile park, with a wide variety of infrastructural facilities.
The park is located in Bagru, near Jaipur, which is known for its traditional textiles and hand block printing skills. This is the first park in India to cater to the niche segment of hand block printing; renowned worldwide, and equipped with state of the art technology to conserve and preserve water.
Despite many changes, the textile printing industry has survived many centuries and remains one of the most unique Indian crafts. Take a Tour to the city of the Royals and see the growth and technique of the craft yourself.
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