Block Printing : An ancient art !!
Block printing is one of the oldest printing techniques. It is an art form which utilizes hand crafted wood with dye for the prints. First evidence of its existence was found in China around 3rd century and in Egypt around 4th century. The skill is encouraged in India as far back as the 12 century. Since then this alluring print has been flourishing in various parts of India in different forms. It was even exported to Mediterranean in 5th B.C. from India. The colonies of blockers and block printing artisans has come up in various states like Gujarat produced Ajrakh print with resist printing, Rajasthan produced Sanganer and Bagru print with direct printing and Andhra Pradesh produced Kalamkari print.
Block prints are known by various names in India like hand block print, wooden block print, Sanganer print, Ajrakh print, Bagru print etc. Each name depicts something. Like hand block print depicts that a good amount of efforts and time spent on the part of artisan to get the final design on cloth by hands. The small irregularities and imperfections in print narrate the charming story of the unique process of printing by a block. Similarly, wooden block print emphasises on the material used to make a block for motif printing. It is one of the most important and tough steps of the process of block printing. The carving of the wooden blocks takes lot of skills on part of artisans. The design is first traced on the wooden block, and then the block makers carefully carve the wood to bring the design to life. Every block is unique because of its hand carving.
There exist more than 3 types of block printing in India. Various States specializes in one or the other type of block printing. There are 3 types of processes followed for printing that are Resist Printing, Direct Printing and Discharge Printing.
Vritti Designs uses Resist as well as Direct Printing on handspun and handwoven cotton cloth. It makes the cloth beautiful, attractive and colourful. Vritti Designs’s artisans are capable of making beautiful motif designs on the wooden blocks. The designs includes stylized Paisley (keri) motifs, stylized 3-4 petal flower pattern, zig zag linear patterns, stylized leaf pattern, Jaal Pattern, stylised peacock pattern, kan kharek, riyal, ginni, mifudi, bodi riyal, tavith, sopari, nani jimardi, moti jimardi, ekko, kuiyaro, hydro leemai, sitara etc. Prints are created by using either azo free pigments or natural colour dyes made from indigo leaves (indigo colour), marigold flower petals (yellow colour), iron scrape and jaggery (black colour), catchue bark (brown colour) and myrobalan, pomegranate (yellow color) ,Madder roots ( Red colour) etc.
Number of blocks use on a single cloth depends on the number of colours in the motif prints and also, different types of motifs on the cloth. The process of Ajrakh print i.e. a Resist Print is most arduous and time taking.
Please visit their website to have a look at Vritti Designs work. Link for the online shop is given below: