Spotlight On: Traditional Indian Block Printing

block prints
This past October, the design and production teams took a long-awaited trip to visit our partners in India, and had the opportunity to see the people face to face who make our beautiful Pink Chicken frocks! This includes the intricate block printing, artisans who - by hand - stamp every motif onto the fabric before being cut to make the garment. 
indian block print
Read more below and learn about traditional Indian block printing from our team and amazing partners!
the team
What makes a true Indian Block Print?
Christina: True Indian Block Printing always has variation since it’s all done by hand. The outcome of the color and the space between the colors varies because it depends on how much ink you put on the block, and also how much you push down on the block. Making it a true work of art!
Courtney:  True traditional block printing is hand printing one motif or section at a time (usually about an 8” square) using hand carved wooden blocks. The block is stamped on an ink pad made from several layers of cloth and ink in order to get the correct amount of ink on the block stamp and then firmly and quickly pressed onto the fabric. 
Kelsey: You should see a variation in color saturation due to the hand printed nature of this process and the execution of the overall print should be slightly off giving a vintage feel.
block print
What is the most interesting thing you learned about block printing?
Christina: Block printing is such a beautiful art with really talented artisans. Seeing it in person and making my own block print when we visited our block printing mill in Jaipur was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had! It’s harder than it looks! Each block print is hand carved and has a set of blocks that are used for each color position to achieve the full motif. So the amount of blocks used for one specific print depends on the amount of colors there are and each color gets placed separately by hand. I picked an elephant that was a 4 block set. There’s a specific order as well of placing the blocks with the outline always going first then follows the rest of the colors from the biggest to smallest color positions. You finish each color position before going to the next color. This relates to the PC designs because all of our prints are designed in house and are as unique as the block itself. Our factory will carve the blocks based on our artwork and the amount of colors the motifs have. It’s always so exciting seeing how our motifs will be executed and authentically printed!
block prints
Courtney:  That every block is carved by hand with a small chisel and a wood hammer. Another thing was that hundreds of meters of fabric are printed by one artisan by hand, so PC bulk production is a work of art! 
Kelsey:  That it is an actual carved wooden block. The blocks are hand carved by artisans daily and can weigh up to 5 pounds. For production, when you put that into perspective, that it is one artisan who is creating the unique PC block, and one person who is stamping the heavy block against the fabric. I now realize why we operate these collections on a longer lead time!
the team
What is your favorite Indian Block Print from the ’24 Early Spring Collection, and why?
Christina: My favorite is the blue bouquet floral! I love the classic blue hues mixed together with the pop of white flowers.
Courtney:  I love the unexpected ground color of the green dahlia block print, it’s connecting the traditional with the modern and I love the styles it comes in. 
Kelsey: The pink bouquet floral. It reminds me of the beautiful warm pinks that surround the pink city of Jaipur.
Shop Indian Block Prints from the Early Spring Collection here.
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