Introductory essay: Block Prints

Craft, Handloom, Art, Craftspersons/ Artisanal, Op-Ed

Introductory essay: Block Prints

Mastani, Meeta

Issue #007, Winter, 2021                                                                       ISSN: 2581- 9410 Creating beauty out of natural materials with rudimentary tools, hard work and a sense of timelessness is something Indian craftspeople are excellent at. The history of block printing in India is a fascinating history of culture, the interdependence of communities, ecological changes, power, politics, trade and economics in the country. Different parts of the country are known for varied kinds of printing. From fine, many colour impeccable printing fitting perfectly into each other, to single colour basic printing we have it all, still surviving in pockets. Natural dyes, chemical dyes, dabu and kiryanu mud resist, wax printing, traditional prints, contemporary prints all add to the varieties of block printing that exist in India. Prints were used to signal community clothing, gatherings and were used for rituals. They were also used in home furnishings and virtually anywhere else that textiles were used. Block prints, including Chintz are one of India’s earliest commercial crafts. Enthusiastically worn, both in India and outside the country, block printed textile makers need representative bodies that speak for the sector as a whole. We need commercial and technical bodies that will represent block printers and give them a status as a distinct sector and separate from screen printers. Block makers too need to be brought into this ecosystem, and their skills celebrated. Block makers and printers from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Prade...
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