We enjoyed attending the South Asian Block Printing and Textile Design course at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, supported by the Bagri Foundation, from 1 – 5 August, 10:30am – 5:30pm. Artist and educator Tasleema Alam led the course which focused upon the block printing and textile heritage in Bangladesh, particularly the Dhaka region as well as widening across South Asia, addressing Rajasthan and beyond.
The students began the course by learning about the history and techniques of textile woodblock printing. As Mehera Shaw Foundation Trust explains:
the traditional process of hand block printing on textiles, with rich natural colours, has been known for many centuries. In block printing, traditionally each colour of the print requires a separate block. Each colour pattern is stamped individually onto the fabric; the process takes skill and time, as the pattern must be stamped repeatedly across the fabric, colour by colour. The slight human irregularities — inevitable in handwork — create the artistic effect emblematic of block prints. The final outcome of this intricate labor is a timeless beauty, and every garment made from this fabric is unique.
For more information about the process, visit Mehera Shaw’s website here:
The Victoria and Albert museum also offers an interesting explanation along with a video demonstration as part of their past exhibition, The Fabric of India here:
The students drew their own designs inspired by Mughal motifs, learnt how to ground up dyes such as indigo and carve their creations into their own wooden block and print onto textiles. At the end of the course, students had their own beautiful block printed designs on cushions and tote bags to keep.
This course was part of the Bagri Foundation’s Open Programme at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, which expands the Asian courses at The School. See what’s coming up next as part of the Programme here: