Hand block painting is a traditional process that dates back for more than 500 years. It is an artform that takes a good bit of effort and learning. Often the techniques are passed down from a family member to another. To do it properly, the “artist” will use recipes that have also been passed down to make the paint. It uses plant based dyes only. However, in recent times, people have also begun using AZO free pigmented dyes. If you want to see an artist at work when on vacation, you should check out hand block painting in Jaipur.
Each piece of painted fabric starts with a block of wood. The artist draws a design on a piece of paper and then it is carved into a block of Sheesham wood. The block itself then becomes the “stamp” which is applied by making rows across the fabric to be painted. Each pattern uses two blocks. One is the outline of the flower or other design. It is the hardest one to carve out. The details, or color block, is easier to carve and fills in the outline with color. All carving is done by hand, by people who have spent years gaining mastery of the technique.
Finishing the Print
By mixing the right colors together, the printer then puts the stamps on the canvas. It is a very slow and tedious process and a wrongly placed stamp will throw off the entire print. However, there are always some slight imperfections in the print which most people consider “timeless one of a kind” pieces of art. Every print is uniquely different from all others.