block printing: ancient and all the rage (video)
Design and product development is at the heart of tag. Our designers are always playing with interesting concepts, becoming inspired, and nurturing fresh ideas. They also manage to travel the world to uncover wonderful design and production techniques.
One technique is called block printing. tag works with artisans in Jaipur, India to create block-printed textiles for our Indigo collection.
Block printing dates back 1000s of years and started with a type of cylinder stamp that rolled intricate designs onto print surfaces (see Wikipedia for more history). The stamps created beautiful, continuous patterns that were truly one-of-a-kind; no two items were ever exactly alike.
It's amazing how little the fundamentals of block printing have changed over the centuries. This is how the process works today:
- Designs are sketched onto tracing paper and then transferred onto solid wood blocks
- Artisans use handmade tools to carve the designs into the blocks to make the 'stamp'
- The blocks are dipped into colored dyes and applied in layers to fine fabrics.
- The printed fabrics are allowed to air-dry
Due to the hand-crafted nature of this process, every block and stamp is totally unique, resulting in one-of-a-kind textiles. The final product is full of characteristics that reflect the artisan's hand and make each item special.
Take a look at our block-printing video, made up of clips from the tag design team's recent trip to India. Watch an actual Indigo tablecloth be printed by hand in Jaipur at the family-run business that tag has worked closely with for several years: