Block printing is one of the oldest types of printmaking in India. Our master chippas print lengths of fabric, usually on cotton or silk, with hand-carved woodblocks. The print starts with the design drawn on paper and then transferred in pencil onto the teak block. The design is meticulously carved by hand using a hammer and chisel. Sometimes a brass or copper block is used for fine prints.
The patias or printing tables are metres long and are carefully prepared with layers of hessian cloth and base fabric to cushion the surface, allowing the dyes to absorb evenly. The fabric to be printed is stretched over the printing table and fastened with small pins. The tension of the fabric must be uniform, so there aren't any ripples.
The dye is mixed and poured into the palette which sits on a wheeled wooden trolley with racks allowing the master printer efficient access.
Each colour in the print requires a different block and is individually stamped on the fabric with the familiar 'tock tock' sound of block printing. The completed printed fabric is hung and left to dry. Once dry, the printed material is steamed and washed to remove any excess dye.
Block printing is a time-honoured, skilful and meticulous process. The outstanding quality of our prints is a result of the extraordinary skills of the block carver and printer. True artisan craftsmanship.