Hand Block Printing

Block printing (or wood block printing) is an ancient technique to apply pattern onto fabric. The block prints we stock in the shop and online are from India. We love the soft hand-loomed cotton, and we feel that the imperfections and iregularities that come from hand printing add character and depth to the prints.

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Block printing - the seemingly simple act of stamping onto fabric - actually requires a lot of skill, time and patience. The design is first carved into the wooden blocks using hand tools such as chisels and hammers. Precision is key as the patterns are often intricate. It may be a one colour print or there may be multiple blocks that overlap each other to create layers of different colours, backgrounds and details.

Once the block is ready the pattern is carefully lined up upon the fabric, dye is applied to the block and the pattern is printed by pressing the block firmly onto the fabric. This is repeated along the fabric to create a repeat design. This process is repeated for each colour layer within the pattern.

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Originally these were printed with natural dyes made from plants or wood - like Madder, Cutch and Indigo. As chemical dyes became more prevalent they were used in the blockprinting process. We stock a range of both - earthy natural dyed blockprints such as the Kalamkari and brighter more graphic styles such as the Caprea.

All of our cotton blockprints are sourced by ourselved when we visit India twice a year. Working closely with the artisans and textile traders to uphold these traditional skills.

Clothhousebockprint, Khadi