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Block Prints for Textiles

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Block print design from “Block Prints fro India for Textiles” by Albert Buell Lewis

Patterns found on cotton textiles are often block printed. Designs are very diverse, depending on place. Black, red and blue are the most common colors used for block printing, and also the most permanent. Borders sometimes use more than one color, but it’s a general rule that no more than two colors be used. Usually, this is black and red, and colors such as green and yellow are added by hand.  So far in my observations, and especially in this collection of block prints, I’m seeing as a common motif floral and vegetal imagery. Birds also seem fairly common, and in rarer cases I’ve even seen some very geometric patterning, but so far that has mostly been on embroidered textiles. There are a few examples of block prints from the PDF linked below that show a combination of geometric and floral imagery, such as the one I’m showing here.

Top: The tendu plant motif / Bottom Left: An adaptation of the traditional nandana mango motif / Bottom Right: Detail of a contemporary design of stripes based on the cross-border of a traditional lugda
Top: The tendu plant motif / Bottom Left: An adaptation of the traditional nandana mango motif / Bottom Right: Detail of a contemporary design of stripes based on the cross-border of a traditional lugda

Block prints from the region of Bagh are characterized by geometrical patterns of floral motifs on black, red, and blue color grounds. The lugda and odhami designs have large cross-borders with at least 5-7 different narrow bel  designs, a common border design. The tendu plant motif was adapted for urban markets.

 

Sources:

https://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/monographs/lab_prnt.pdf

“Handmade in India: A Geographic Encyclopedia of Indian Handicrafts”