How Many People Does it Take to Make One of Our Block Printed Bandanas or Scarves?

  • 2 min read

The short answer is: lots. But the real answer can be explained only by understanding India's rich textile culture and the integrated craft communities who create these distinctive hand prints.

Here, craft work is a direct extension of culture. Families and neighbors work and live together interdependently, often across religions, tribes and generations. These cultural norms underpin the extension of India’s 4000 year old textile tradition into the present with legacy skills and innovative combinations.

How Many?

Spolier Alert: 19 An ongoing conversation between skill and tradition

  1. A creative director with a product vision (1 or a team).
  2. A textile designer who captures that vision in lines and colors.  In a process similar to the graphic design color separations, the textile designer puzzles together which colors go on which blocks. The right color printed in the right spot in the right order really matters to a quality look. (1-3 or a larger team).
  3. When the design’s separations are finished, hereditary carvers from a different guild step in to chisel designs traced onto teak.  Each block may take up to 15 days to carve, depending on the intricacy of design. Our cannabis botanical took two weeks to draw and 15 days to carve.  After that, the carvers soak the teak in mustard oil for a week to cure and stabilize it. (1 to 4).
  4. Now come decisions about colorways, which is another tricky step.  Usually that process is a collaboration between the creative director, the textile designer, the color master and the actual block printer. After color tests are approved, the printing begins. (Usually 4).
  5. Block prints are done by eye. Signs of the human hand, even imperfections, are part of the ineffable humanity and beauty of the craft. It takes years to become great, which is why printing is often the family business. Greige's natural block prints are made by 3rd generation printers.  While they have different strengths, everyone in the family is deeply immersed in the esoteric arts of adhering color to cloth.
  6. Printers stand before long tables covered with a thane of fabric, (about 25 feet).  They dip blocks into color and aim the block toward the right spot.  Printers print with a karate chop thump to get good results. (1 to 6 per design).
  7. The thane has to dry between prints (or perhaps dry-wash-dry) for clean, well defined colors. Our cannabis botanical has 6 colors, which means the process repeats 6 times. 
  8. Next comes the hand-rolled hem.  The nice lady who hand-rolls hems for us can complete six or seven hems in a full day. (1 person).

    Total: 19 for design and printing only

    See the latest Block Prints, Here!
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