Meanwhile in Jaipur...
Block-printing is a centuries-old crafting technique practiced across Asia. The desert region of Jaipur, India is perhaps the most well-known source of block-printed fabrics.
The crafting process is time and labor intensive. Maintaining high quality standards honors the customs perfected over generations of craftsmen.
The particularities of the block-printing process, from dying the fabrics to carving the wooden blocks, varies between villages. Within a single village, artisans work simultaneously at three different sites to produce uniquely patterned, durable and colorful fabric.
Cotton cloth is first soaked in water for days to swell the fiber. Afterwards the fabric is beaten and rinsed several times to ensure all impurities are removed and that the fabric will accept further processing. It is then submerged within a vat of dye, wrung out, and spread out to dry.
A relief pattern carved into a wooden block is pressed upon the fabric to leave a stamp of vegetable dye.
Each color on a piece of fabric represents a different wooden block carved with a different geometric or floral pattern. One completed piece of fabric may require half a dozen different blocks.
Many thanks to our intern Izzy for sharing these amazing photos from her recent trip to Jaipur!