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Photographer's Note

Photo taken in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.

Block printing is a form of dying and coloring a fabric using wooden blocks. India is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of block printed fabric in the world. Block printing craftsmen use wooden or metal blocks to create beautiful designs; sometimes, linoleum blocks are also used.

• The fabric to be printed is first washed free of starch.
• If tie-dyeing is required, this is done before the printing process. Incase fabric is dyed, it is washed thereafter, to remove excess color. It is dried in the sun.
• The fabric is then stretched over the printing table and secured with pins.
• Color is mixed separately and kept ready. So are the blocks. The blocks are made of teak wood and hand-carved. They are soaked in oil for 10-15 days to soften the timber.
• The color is kept in a tray which rests on another tray that contains a liquid made of glue and pigment binder. This gives the color a soft base and permits even spreading of color on the block.
• When printing begins, the color is first evened out in the tray. Then the block is dipped in the outline color.
• The block is pressed down hard on the fabric, to make a clear impression. Thereafter, other blocks are used to fill in color.
• Once the fabric is printed, it is dried in the sun. It is then rolled in newspaper to prevent the fabric layers from sticking to each other.
• The fabric is then steamed.
• Thereafter, it is washed in water and dried in the sun.
• Ironing is the last stage.

From Gujarat, the art of block printing spread to Rajasthan. Here colorful prints of birds, animals, human figures, gods and goddesses are popular. The important centers for this form of hand printing are Jaipur, Bangru, Sanganer, Pali and Barmer.

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Additional Photos by Paul Bulteel (pauloog) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 77 N: 1882] (11751)
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