Are achieved by the process of dying and colouring using wooden blocks. Highly skilled craftsmen use wooden or metal blocks to create beautiful designs. Sometimes linoleum blocks are also used. Indian block print dress styles are manufactured and exported all over the world. There are three different techniques by which block printing can be done. The first one is called Direct printing and it involves the cotton or silk dress materials to be first bleached, after which they are dyed.
Finally the decorative motifs are printed upon the fabric using the outline blocks first after which the outlines are filled in with color. The second method called Resist Printing is the method where the parts of the fabric which are to be protected from the dye are covered with a mixture of clay, resin and then washed.
After drying and application of the dyes, the dye spreads into the protected areas through cracks creating a rippled effect. Discharge printing is the technique in which after the fabric is dyed, a chemical is used to remove the dye from the portions that are to have designs in a different colour. These portions are then treated, so they may be re-coloured. In India, most artisans and craftsmen follow age-old printing techniques which have been passed down through the generations to them by their parents and ancestors.
These techniques although having minor differences in them are mostly the same and involves the fabric that is to be printed to be first washed to rid it of excess starch. In cases where tie-dyeing is required, this is done before the actual printing process. In cases where the fabric has been dyed, it is washed to remove all the excess colour and then dried for a while in the sun. The fabric is then stretched over a printing table and secured with pins. All colors are mixed separately and kept ready before hand along with the printing blocks.
These blocks are conventionally made from teak wood and hand-carved. These wooden blocks are traditionally soaked in oil for close to 10 days in order to soften the timber. The colors which are kept in a tray which rests on another tray that contains a liquid comprised of glue and pigment binder. This combination helps give the colour a soft base and permits even spreading of colour on the block.
When printing process begins by first evening out the color on the tray, after which the block is dipped in the outline colour. The block is then pressed down hard on the fabric, in order to make a clear impression. Thereafter, other blocks are used to fill in colour. Once the fabric has been printed upon, it is dried in the sun. It is then rolled in newspaper to prevent the fabric layers from sticking to each other. Subsequent processes include steaming of the fabric followed by washing, drying and finally ironing.
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