Hello DOI Lovers,
Welcome to Issue 5 of Post Cards from India. This month, we wanted to share with you a little bit more about those magic block printed floral details that you drape yourselves in when you wear our designs.
The history, process and why we adore it so.
Block printing in India holds a place of pride there, the age old craft of dying and colouring a fabric using wooden blocks has been perfected over many generations. It is highly valued, treasured and in some cases a family tradition.
Pradeep Ji is the name of one of our incredible block printing artists who has been practising this technique for the last 20 years. He has a collection of designs that have been passed down to him by his father and have been in his family for generations.
The art form of block printing originated as early as 3500 - 1300 BC in India, but, was not being printed on fabric until, as history tells us, the 12th century to be enjoyed by royalty.
Being a slow fashion based label, we embrace the slow process that goes into the block printing preparation itself. The blocks themselves require 10-15 days to be perfected.
It all begins with a fabric that is first washed free of starch. If tie-dyeing is needed, it is done at this stage, and if the fabric is already dyed, it is washed to remove excess colour, which is then dried in the sun. The next step sees the fabric pinned on the printing table. Meanwhile, the natural colours are prepared and kept on a tray containing a mixture to bind it and ensure a soft base for the colour as well as allowing it to evenly spread onto the blocks for pressing onto the fabrics.
You will find that these blocks are constructed out of a combination of sycamore and teak. They are beautifully hand-carved into detailed designs that are first made using chalk paste or a pencil on paper. After these steps are made they are soaked in oil for 10-15 days to soften the timber.
Your design has been touched by hand every step of the way, from carving the blocks to gently pressing the intricate details onto every section of fabric. This is truly unique and we cherish the individuality that goes into every design.
In a time when we are surrounded by mass production and machinery, we welcome this sustainable technique, the history and art form that is block printing. We hope you love being wrapped in these hand pressed details!
(Words by Britt Overeem)