Have you ever heard of block printing? It is a centennial method widely used in India, especially in Jaipur area.
Here, for over 300 years, fabric artisans have been manually printing meters and meters of fabric, reproducing painstakingly accurate designs of all kinds that make silk and other fabrics more precious.
Are you curious to know what it consists of?
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What is manual block printing?
Manual block printing, also known as the hand block print, is a centuries-old technique that is still carried out today by Indian textile artisans.
The execution of this technique is very simple and, at the same time, also complex and involves entire Indian villages in which each family takes care of a part of the process.
It all starts with the carver who carve pieces of wood, preferably rosewood. Ornamental motifs that can be of various types are engraved on these blocks in bas-relief, from geometric shapes to flowers to tribal images.
These pieces of wood will then be dipped in the dye, preferably of natural origin, and will be impressed at regular intervals on the pieces of fabric that must be printed.
The operation ends with a complex washing and drying phase which serves to penetrate the color in the most suitable way inside the fabrics. Once printed and washed, the fabrics must be left to dry in the sun because only in this way can the color be fixed in the texture of the fabric and not discolor once it is worked and then used.
The whole process requires very long processing times which make the printed fabrics even more precious.
The secrets of hand block print
What may seem like a very simple printing technique actually hides elements of considerable difficulty.
First of all, it should not be forgotten that the scarver work the wooden blocks by hand, so in theory the margin of error could really be very high.
In reality these craftsmen are so good that they are practically never wrong and even when there is some small inaccuracy, the end result is so beautiful that everything goes into the background.
These are not simple designs but often also very complex works that require the perfect interlocking of different blocks, in order to be able to create a fantasy suitable for the type of designs you want to create.
The choice of colors is also very important, because not only they must be chromatically compatible with each other but all colors must also be of natural origin, in order to preserve the quality of the fabrics. In the past some villages, on the solicitations of some fashion industries, had tried to use chemical dyes, but the results obtained did not satisfy the needs of the customers.
The true block printing method, therefore, combines the skill in the inlay of wood with the ability to mix natural colors and create a slow but precise production process, which sees perfect continuity between the figures of the chhipas who are the printers , the rangrez that are the dyers and the dhobi that are those who deal with the washing of the fabrics.
The sustainability of manual block printing
In Jaipur area entire villages have been dedicated for centuries to this molding activity that has been handed down from generation to generation.
Certainly it is an ethical and eco-sustainable fashion, which respects the professionalism of expert artisans who create exclusively a handmade product, that is, Indian prints.
In addition to being extremely precious, silks and other textiles made in this way have a significant social function.
In fact, all members of each family that is dedicated to this activity are involved in a production process that gives sustenance to the family and allows it to live with dignity.
At the same time, however, this artisan work is very respectful of the needs and timing of the people involved because it is not the machine that controls but the artist, or the craftsman, who puts creativity and passion into an ancient art that It has stood for centuries thanks to the careful keepers of the secrets of a complex but beautiful technique.
Great elegance and beauty of ethical fashion
Malini's fashion is completely based on the same concept of precision, love for art and craftsmanship that have inspired Jaipur printers for centuries.
The use of fabrics that are completely handmade, with natural dyes and without the use of any chemical product, makes the garments beautiful and elegant but it is also a way to protect nature and avoid sources of pollution.
With the block printing technique and above all with the craftsmanship, the scraps of product waste is reduced to a minimum and this allows you to avoid polluting even more a country like India that has always suffered from environmental problems