Woodstock | WS Kids On The Block
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-17382,single-format-gallery,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-theme-ver-5.4,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.11.2,vc_responsive

WS Kids On The Block

27 Nov WS Kids On The Block

The Art Of Block Printing Hands On


Recently the quad was resounding to the thumping of fists-on-bocks as student brought alive the ancient art of block printing first hand. They created designs on canvas bags which they were allowed to keep.

Woodstock invited JOYN, an NGO from Dehradun, to demonstrate how block printing is done. Students from middle years took turns all day to practise the dyeing and printing art. WS students are indeed fortunate to have this opportunity twice in a span of few years. Fab India brought their artisans here from Jaipur to do the same. They work with organic dyes.

Block printing has been recorded in India as early as the 12 century. The art is still practised in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Kalamkari, Sanganeri and Bagru are common styles associated with Indian block printing. The background, whether white or black differentiates the latter two.

The most important part of the printing process is the wooden block or ‘Bunta’ which is painstakingly carved by hand. It’s an art form kept alive by a few master craftsmen and only because enterprises like JOYN, Stree Shatki, Soma, Anokhi and Fab India etc. still employ the technique of block printing in the production of fabric commodities. An ex-staff, Rebecca Layton, started her own company using hand printed custom made fabrics. See link below.

Students had the opportunity to meet artisans one-on-one and learn how to apply the paint on the blocks, blow away air bubbles before placing the blocks on fabric, tap it so the design transferred without any loss and also try a combination of colours and designs of their own.


He who works with his hands is a laborer.

He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.

He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

-Francis of Assisi


The Joyn team:

Pappu Singh: Master Block Carver from UP. He creates the actual blocks fo JOYN.

Nyima :Block printer from the Nepal-Tibet border. With JOYN since 3 years and lives in Dehradoon.

Roshan: Block Printer from Bihar. Loves brush painting too. Learning to speak English and saving up to buy his own bike.

Fazal Rahman: Block Printer from Meerut.  Started by making blocks, now prints. Has spend a lifetime in this trade. Used to work for a big company in Delhi which closed down.

Sonam:  Designer from Dehradoon. Used to work in Calcutta making prints and doing graphic work. New kid on the block!  Met “Mel” in a conference in Delhi and came to work for JOYN.

Shweta: Trainee social media, marketing and branding. Been 8 months at JOYN.  “We work on 2 differenet platforms on which we show case products for whole sale buyers who have boutique stores in the US and online buyers.”

Murrray, group photo, front row, second from right


JOYN was created by Melody Murray. She is the first expat to have 100% ownership of an NGO in Uttarakhand.

“I’m passionate about creating markets for artisans for a long time -10 years now. It’s a long story how my husband and I landed up in India but once I arrived here I found these art forms – block printing, stitching, weaving – which you can find throughout India but they are dying art forms; so my desire was to connect artisans with healthy markets so their art forms wouldn’t die out but also create markets and livelihood and dignity and job creation which is my passion. We’ve been here 5 years. JOYN is 3 ½ years old.”


Read more: Via Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodblock_printing_on_textiles

Via the Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-last-trustee-of-indigo/article6630582.ece

Rebecca Layton




No Comments

Post A Comment