Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Wooden Block print talk

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Know a traditional wooden hand block printed fabric from a fake one:

Computerized Screen printing is widely being used to give a block print effect. Although the computerized version is faster, way cheaper and can be produced in bulk, it lacks the 'soul' of the traditional hand made textile. 

1. The Width:
A typical wooden block used for block printing is around 6 to 8 inches in size. Therefore after every 6 inches there appears to be a break in the design if it is a running pattern. A screen can be as large as the width of the fabric and repeats are hard to spot. 

2. The Depth
The wooden block is dipped in color and stamped on the fabric several times until a second dip in paint is required. The depth of the color in a single motif block print design varies from motif to motif. In case of screen printing, the depth of the color is consistent.

3.  The Impression
Watch a textile expert closely, 9 out of 10 times you can catch them studying the reverse of a worked upon fabric more intently than the front. In a screen printed fabric the dye penetration will be uniform, whereas in a hand block printed fabric, the dye penetration is proportional to the pressure applied on the block by the printer, therefore it does not look even.

4. The Intricacy
The wooden hand blocks are created by hand by carving out the pattern on a slab of teak wood. There is a limitation to how intricate a design can get and the very design is a sure shot way to distinguish a screen from hand block.

5. The Flaws
The smudges and imperfections at the first look are not really the flaws but the tale of an age old craft that has been passed down from generations. Accept the flaws, these are just as beautiful as the craters on the moon and the very assurance that your piece is really a block print

Picture source: http://www.thefind.com

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