Chikankari : Printing and Block Making

Crafts, Handlooms, Art, Craftspersons/ Artisanal

Chikankari : Printing and Block Making

Khan, Noor

Issue #007, Winter, 2021                                                               ISSN: 2581- 9410

A finished chikan product is the realization of an artist’s vision, carefully designed and embroidered to create the desired effect. Chikan embroidery is itself so intricate and breathtaking, that the block makers and printers who create the foundation of this embroidery are often unacknowledged. The process starts with the selection of an appropriate block, the printing of the pattern on the garment and finally the choice of stitches that will give the final finish to the design.

Printing with fugitive colour before the embroidery is done

The process of chikan embroidery starts with block making and printing. It is fascinating to watch a printer at work as he sits cross legged at a low table with the fabric spread out in front of him. With years of practice, his arm movements have acquired a rhythm of their own as he dips the block, just so, into the tray of indigo dye and swiftly and surely presses it onto the fabric. The plain fabric comes alive with the blue design, the borders and pallus begin to take shape, the pattern of paisleys and booties acquire a life of their own. It is a busy day at Mohammad Ali’s karkhana, in purana Lucknow. The ‘thud’, ‘th...
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