The Heritage Craft of Hand Block Printing
Block printing is thought to have its origins in China over 4,000 years ago, before disseminating throughout Asia and the world. The earliest record of block printing, though, isn’t on fabric but on a book known as the Diamond Sutra, which was printed 300 years before the Gutenberg Bible. The story of India’s journey to becoming the epicenter of block printing, though, is complicated.
Mughal rulers patronized the arts extensively throughout their dynasty and the Mughal style came to define huge parts of Indian artistry as we know it today, touching everything from block printing to the Taj Mahal.
The entire textile industry flourished under the Mughal patronage, and many craftspeople are still working in the same historical centers of Gujrat and Rajasthan that supported the Mughals during their reign.
Block printing techniques remain largely unchanged since the time of the Mughals—at least where printing continues to happen by hand. Most block-printed textiles come about in one of three ways: direct, resist, or discharge printing. All print runs begin with a wooden block, which is hand-carved by artisans who typically learn the trade from their families. The work requires a delicate but deft hand. Carvers create a block for each element of the pattern, which means that within one pattern there are blocks for every border, leaf grouping, or flower style.
The dye is then applied using one of three methods. The direct method is the simplest: Dip a block into a dye, and then stamp it onto the fabric. Discharge printing is used to create a white pattern on a colorful background. Printers place a simple bleaching agent on the wooden blocks and stamp them to achieve this. Resist printing happens in reverse. The wooden blocks are dipped in a waxy paste and stamped to create a pattern before the entire piece is dyed the final color. Once it is dried, the paste is removed, and the untouched pattern remains.
The idea for Poem came to us when we were drained after a long day at work and counting the hours till we could go home, slip into our favourite pajamas and put our feet up.
So here's what we set out to do.
We created loungewear that is synonymous with “home”, pajamas that you can’t wait to go back to after a hard day, comfort wear that calls out to you when you’re crunching the numbers or stuck in traffic.
Sleepwear that is even better than cuddling with your significant other- well, almost!
Now you may think that this is a stretch, a selling gimmick, and we don’t blame you, the world has become increasingly untrustworthy, hasn’t it?
So go ahead and try it for yourself!