Sunday, February 7, 2016

Block printing

Charllotte Kwon fell in love with India.  She opened the first Maiwa store in Vancouver about 20 years ago and now there are three stores, two on Granville Island and Amiwa East, on Odlum Dr.  Charlotte has done amazing things here in India, teaching and developing traditional skills in villages, creating jobs and inspiring creativity among the people.  She has learned that if you give the people the opportunity, their level of artistry and hard work provide stunning items that people in Canada and elsewhere love.
  This is Bagru village, where the main Maiwa fabric and clothing lines are created.  Maiw emplyees spend several months a year here, designing, overseeing, and assisting the printing and dyeing.

Our arrival was a major event.  Here is some of what greeted us as we got off the bus.

The main focus of dyeing here is natural indigo, and you can see the fabulous fabrics that are creating with this colour and with the carved blocks.

The dying is done in several dye pots.  Each of these is ten feet deep.

The village uses a local mud, which serves as a masking agent, to create the white patterns on a blue background.

The fabric is dipped one or more times, depending on the desired shade of blue.

It is then carried hung on a stick by two women, and laid out in the sun to dry.

The block printing can be done using the mud, or using natural dyes onto a white or other coloured background.

Once the printing is done, the printer scatters sawdust on the fabric to dry the ink enough that it won't smudge.

Below you can see how the different blocks are stored, in boxes that show which blocks are inside.  The block print manager told us that this is where all his money is invested.

The printing colours we saw were black, made with iron, red made with henna, and yellow made out of a plant whose name I didn't get.

Here are a some of the people we met.

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