Block printing is making use of a carved piece of wood or any other type of wooden block to imprint an image on fabric or paper. In the early days of printing, it was used to print entire books. Today the process of block printing is popularly associated with making designs on fabrics by printing on them, with the help of a block made for that purpose. Believed to have its origin in China, block printing has been in use around the world now, for quite some time.
Block printing or hand block printing is popular on account of a number of contributing factors.
- It has simplicity and ease of execution.
- There is the sharpness, accuracy and fine detailing of prints made on the fabrics.
- The huge possibilities of match and mix of different block designs in various colors on the same fabric as in large canvas fabrics like the saree and salwar kameez is stupendous. A large number of wooden blocks are always kept in readiness for use based on the intended patterns and designs.
- Creating a new block with a new design is fairly quick and easy.
- Blocks are of good quality wood and so they have durability. Metallic blocks are sometimes used but maneuverability limits their use compared to wooden blocks.
- Intricate and sharp detailing for complicated designs can be etched out in the blocks which is possible only in these wooden blocks. Accessories like hair brushes are used for filling in the blank areas between outlines of the design.
- A point on the block serves as a guide for the repeat impression, so that the whole effect is continuous and not disjoint.
- The extensive choice of colors make the designs vibrant and fresh-feel.