Industrialization helped in making mass production easier by using machines. Whilst this is true, the premium placed on hand crafted materials can’t be ignored, as it shows that there is a healthy (read as expensive) appreciation for these items. From handcrafted shoes, to hand crafted cars (yes, there are cars like this), the human touch and the often delicate feel to these items qis a valuable part of the experience of using the product.
This is perhaps why block printed fabric is taking the global fabric market by storm. We will be discussing the reasons for this.
A Quick History Lesson
Block printing has its roots traced to China and Japan, but it was mostly popularized by Indians. The earliest practitioners of this textile printing style all had one thing incommon; they lived in artisan communities. Those communities now are known for the practice of block printing, and some of them are the Gujarat and the Andhra Pradesh communities.
For these communities, block printing has become a lot more than business, it has become a tradition. And they take care to preserve their tradition very well. This is the reason they take so much care with the textile, and this innate carefulness is evident in the end result.
The early proponents of this textile printing method used wooden blocks carved out in predetermined designs. Depending on the complexity of the designs, some wooden blocks took several days to complete. Add in the time set aside for the wooden blocks to soften after being treated with oil, and it all adds up to be a time consuming endeavour.
Still, the popularity of this method of textile printing from the 17th century onwards attests to the fact that block printing was deemed worthwhile.
Why Block Printing is Special and Popular
The first fact that jumps out at you in favor of block printing is that it is a departure from the industrialized ways of producing textile. Normally, machines churn out rolls and rolls of printed clothes, the same pattern on them and with no personal touch whatsoever.
With block printing, just the knowledge alone that someone somewhere devoted their time, effort and used the wisdom of many years to carefully design your clothes with specially carved designs tends to make one feel special.
The following are other reasons for the prevalence of block printed clothes in global markets;
1. Block Printing is Easy to Execute
The process of block printing is not a complicated one at all. Yes, it requires a certain finesse and a high level of care, but in all, it is a method that has an easy execution. Once you’re able to get the wooden or rubber or linoleum block ready with the designs, you know all that is left is to print. Block print clothing is also apt as ethnic party wear.
2. The Mix and Match of Designs
With block printing, there is a great potential for a switch up in the designs used on a particular length of cloth. This is one great advantage it has over industrialized printing, the fact that completely different designs can be used on a single length of textile, and they would match.
The possibilities are endless, subject only to the whims of the printer. Expertly printed textiles that have multiple matching designs would do well as ethnic party wear.
3. The Attention to Detail of the Prints
The attention to detail of block printed textiles always seems to leap out of the textile at you, and though a keen observer might notice a handful of design irregularities here and there, it only serves to endear you more to the textile.
Designs that are more complicated usually take more attention and time to execute, and this is evident in the finished material.
Block printed textiles are not just very attractive and desirable, but the sheer range of designs that can be used to print these textiles gives them a very fresh and vibrant feel.