Handmade crafts from around the world are a great addition to your home. These items always tell the best stories, whether you picked them up yourself on your travels or received them from a friend on their way around the world.
At Home From India, we are proud to work with many skilled artisans throughout India, who specialize in unique handicrafts. We want to introduce these arts and their history to you, to showcase the incredible amount of talent that goes into our products. This time, we are introducing the art of block printing. This process has been ongoing in India for centuries, resulting in beautiful textiles encompassing clothing, pillows, table runners, and other linens.
Indian block printing starts with wooden blocks, fabric, and dye. The blocks of wood are carved to create the design that will be put on the fabric.
For the most intricate designs, up to 30 blocks have been used in the process of making just one Indian block print, and each color that will be printed gets its own block. All in all, it can take up to 20 people eight hours to create just one block printed item, depending on what it is. The extraordinary amount of work involved means that one Indian block printed textile is entirely unique.
When it comes to the printing process, the artisans stretch the fabric and position the blocks to create the fabric’s pattern. There are three different methods used to dye fabrics, but the most common is direct dye printing. This involves placing the ink-dipped wooden block on the fabric and hitting it to discharge the ink onto the fabric. The blocks are then placed on different parts of the fabric to create the overall pattern.
Each color used in the design is finished by a different printer. Some printers use four or five colors, which requires a lot of teamwork as printers move around each other creating the block patterns. Once the colors are completed, the dyes are set through a process of steaming and sun drying. The end result is a one-of-a-kind textile that will brighten your home and comes with an incredible story, too.
Home From India’s blue and white block print table runner is just one example of the variety of block printing available from India’s talented artists. Inspired by the Warli tribe in Maharashtra, India, this table runner depicts scenes from everyday life. Each runner is individually block-printed on 100% cotton canvas by artisans in Jaipur....the blue and white provides an eye-catching background for your table setting.
Like other block printed textiles, each block print table runner may have some small imperfections created by the printing process. Ink splatters and smudged edges are just part of the creation of each item!
Here's a glimpse of the block print process taking place in Jaipur:
We will be expanding our collection of block printed items soon. Comment and tell us what you'd like to see in our product line!