What Makes Our Bengal Hand Block Printing a Puja Heartthrob?

How Silk Sarees with Hand Block Printing of Bengal is so Famous?

When it comes to hand block printing many of us just consider it as a dying and coloring form using the wooden blocks. It is something more than that, they use special handcrafted wooden and metal blocks to create beautiful designs. Even at times, you will find that it uses linoleum blocks to make exciting designs. India is one of the largest producers of block print fabric in the world. They are undoubtedly the largest manufacturer and exporters as well.

We thought to bring into limelight the artisans who have used the hand block prints on the tussar and Bishnupur silk sarees online for our unique inventory. The silk sarees online in our stock have used a number of techniques. It is just not Bengal, block printing is used in other parts of India and in our flourishing silk industry.

Without much confusion let me steer clear the air and get into some quick discussion why tussar and Bishnupur silk sarees with hand block prints are becoming a heartthrob?

Types of Block Printing Techniques in India

The block printing techniques you will find on the tussar silk sarees available are:

1. Direct Printing: For the direct printing the cotton or silk cloth is first bleached and then the fabric is dyed. Thereafter, the fabric is printed using carved blocks. At first, the outline is formed with blocks and then the colors are filled.
2. Resist Printing: In this process, areas to be protected from the dye and covered with a mixture of clay and resin. Then the dyed fabric is washed and spreads into the protected areas through cracks and produces a rippling effect with block prints.
3. Discharge Printing: Through this technique, we dye the fabric and then a chemical is used to remove the dye from the portions to introduce a different color. These portions get treated and then we re-color the same.

The Process fo Block Printing Used in India

The fabric we want to print on the silk sarees online is first washed to make it free of starch. If tie-dying is required it is done before the printing process. In case the fabric is dyed it is washed after that and removes the excess color and finally dried in the sun.

The fabric we get then is stretched over the printing table and the firmly secured with pins. Color is mixed separately and always kept ready. The block we use for block printing is made of teak wood and hand-carved. They are then soaked in oil for 10 to 15 days to soften the timbre. Newly carved wooden blocks kept in oil for a fortnight to make it soft. The color is kept in a tray which rests on another tray and contains a liquid made of glue and a pigment binder.

When we begin the printing, the color is first evened out in the tray and the block is dipped in the outline color. The block is then pressed down hard on the fabric to make a clearer impression and other blocks after that are used to fill the colors. Once you print the fabric we dry it under the sun and roll it in the newspapers to prevent the fabric layers and from sticking to each other. Then we steam the fabric and wash the same in water and dried in the sun.

How Silk Sarees with Hand Block Printing of Bengal is so Famous?

In Bengal, the art of block printing and was introduced at the beginning of the twentieth century. Since then the block printing in Bengal and have used traditional designs and created some fusions of their own. In West Bengal, Sreerampore is the center of block printing and well known for their bold and vibrant patterns.

They take 7 to 10 days depending on the complexity of the design. If you use the block on a regular basis which will be about 300 meters a month and they will last for about 8 months. If not used after several years the wood rot and the block will not print as well. Most of the blocks are based on Indian mythology and inspired by nature and animals. The colors are made from vegetable dyes or from chemicals so light wash with mild detergents is good for it.

Author Bio:

Sumana Bhattacharya completed her Masters in Economics from the University of Calcutta & was working with the Department of Education, Govt. of West Bengal to provide training to the teachers in Government Schools. She moved to USA in 2005 after getting married & is the mother of 2 kids. She is the one that drives IndyVogue every day, every hour, every minute and every second. Salute to her and her undying spirit.

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