Hand printing textiles with carved wood blocks is a tradition that goes back at least 2000 years. It is an ancestral craft that is traditionally passed down through families from generation to generation.
Artisan block printer at the Block Print Company, in Sanager, India
Before the block-printed fabrics are finished and ready for sale, they have passed through many sets of hands from the artisans who carve the wood blocks, to the people who mix the pigments, those who print the fabrics and finally the people who stitch the fabrics into clothing, bedding and other items.
The vibrant and colorful dyes are usually made from fruits, bark, vegetables, and leaves rather than harsh chemicals.
Each color and design requires its own wood block. A pattern with multiple colors used an equal amount of wood blocks that were layered on top of one another one block at a time. Block printing is done by the eye so the fabrics will have slight imperfections which are the beautiful telltale sign of a handmade product.
Block printing is time consuming and labor intensive so it does not lend itself to mass production like digital and screen printing. It also has a much smaller environmental footprint. The act of printing does not require any machinery or electricity. The fabrics are dried naturally in the sun rather than using dryers. It also uses less water than modern printing methods.
When you purchase one of our block printed dresses or quilts, you are helping to keep an age-old traditional art alive. These handmade, eco-friendly textiles with a story are a meaningful alternative to fast fashion and cheaply made textiles from China.