Friday 5 January 2018

5 in 5 - January 2018 - Woodblock Printing in India

Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of
each month I post 5 photos that I have
taken in 5 minutes.

Hello!  And a Happy New Year to you! 
I hope you had a good Christmas, doing the things you love most, and that the new year brings health and happiness. I had all good intentions and patted myself on the back for making over 100 handmade Christmas cards. However, while the lights sparked on my Christmas tree it did lack baubles and tinsel. Sometimes you have to compromise when there are other things more important, or if like me, you go to India in the run up to Christmas! 

This was a creative holiday where I learnt woodblock printing and dyeing of fabrics. It was everything I expected and more, and as often is the case, I met like minded ladies and made some lovely new friends. I also saw how these wooden blocks are hand carved in the traditional way, and of course, I bought home a good supply! I plan to post about the holiday itself so for now I will share some of the prints that I made. Timer set... here goes!  

We started simple, printing with one colour. This was called 'Khadi' which means 'homespun cotton cloth'. The technique was easy but in order to make the pattern line up vertically and horizontally you had to pay attention and line the block carefully.

From one colour we progressed to two, then three; each done as a different stage. The design below is an example of this and we did not have a choice of colour for this technique. It is too bold for me but I adopted the attitude that it was about process and learning, and because of this I enjoyed printing it. This piece is a large square and friends suggested I could use it as a small table cloth.  I've yet to decide, I may like it more cut into smaller pieces.

We also learnt how to mitre corners. There was lots of mutterings around the room as we all attempted to line up or remember to block off our woodblock in the right place. I won't show you the corner where I forgot to do this and ended up with right angles!  

I chose to do vertical pattern on this piece, and it could make a scarf or narrow wrap. Time will tell....

And these are possibly my favourite prints and technique. Called Wabu, we used a relief of mud to first print the pattern. Sawdust was sprinkled on to assist the drying process and then the fabric was dyed in Indigo.

Are you intrigued?

I know I was fascinated by the process, so I'll add a couple of extra photos to show you how the dyeing was done. No health and safety here! This is an 11ft deep well of Indigo!
The fabric is then laid out to dry in the sun. It was a beautiful sight.

The visit and learning was an amazing experience and I have booked some workshops as I would like to do more dyeing of fabric. The year looks promising. I hope yours does too.

Thank you for visiting. It is always fun to have company in this photo challenge so a big thank you to Mary-Lou, Maggie, Melanie, Green Tomato and Borqna for taking part last month. And to all those who visited and left comments.

And YOU would be very welcome to join in too, so I hope you are inspired to get out your camera. Here is the plan:

1.  Choose a location.

2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a timer for 5 minutes (I use my mobile phone).

4.  Take as many photos you can until the time is up.

5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool below.

You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos.


  1. Did you print sample sizes or useable lengths? Are the ones in the final photos produced by your group? It sounds like a fascinating holiday and I look forward to seeing your others posts about it.

    1. Hello Eileen. These are all my own prints and they are each a useable size. They are full width and about 2 - 3ft wide. There are some fine cottons and some heavier weight, we had about five different printing sessions and these were in different areas ranging from city to village communities. It was lovely to experience such diversity.

  2. Very pretty fabrics - what an interesting process to make your own, dirt & sawdust! But wow what an affect it made.

  3. These are stunning, each and every one. I'm hoping you'll share what you plan to make with them, and I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip.

  4. Lovely designs and really interesting to see the process. Not too sure about the 11 ft well though.
    I'm joining in for the first time via Mary Lou.

  5. Oh my goodness, what a splendid thing to have gone and done! I am so looking forward to hearing more. Your indigo patterns are splendid - I like the vertical pattern and the wabu in particular. Did you
    print lengths as long as the ones on the ground? Wow!


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