Looking at the finished product of woodblock printing on textiles, it may be easy to miss or discount the intricate processes that it took to create something so beautiful and precise. In this technological age where most mass-produced textiles are aided with the help of modern machines and computer programmes, its artisan peers increasingly feel the pinch of the demands of mass production.
As the All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association (AIACA) points out, the daunting craft is not only fading among younger generations; its highly traditional processes have long been taking a toll on its remaining artisans who have dedicated their lives to the craft. A country famous for its beautiful textiles, India, of course, still garners plenty of demand for its unique hand-crafted textiles. With processes that haven’t evolved much past its traditional beginnings of some 500 years ago, these textiles and its artisans are living reminders of this highly demanding and skilled art form.
This video below – posted by Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo – gives us an eyeful of the intricate process that marks the beginnings of the woodblock printing process, before these stencils would impart their flawless, exquisite motifs onto fabrics. The carving of the printing blocks is as equally demanding as the later production of the fine textiles, as each stage requires different skills for the process, all brought to life by specialised craftsmen. Take a look at how craftsmen at Yaseen Wooden Block Makers in Jaipur, Rajasthan, carve the meticulous, stunning motifs out of blocks of wood.
For a more in-depth look into the industry of woodblock printing textiles in India, take a look at this video by AIACA.
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