Stunning photos of the block printing process

The process of block printing is a perfect embodiment of slow fashion. From the intricate carving of the wooden block, to the painting of the eco friendly pigment on the wood, to the hand placement of each repeat, every step is carried out with intention and care to create a harmony of pattern and colour.


We have just received a collection of beautiful photos from our partners in India, who documented the process of block printed designs being created for our Spring 2024 collection. These pictures perfectly capture the step by step process of making a pattern from the base of a carved wooden block all the way to a piece of textile art. And then after that, into a garment ready for its new home in your closet!

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The team of artisans that works with us on bringing our block prints to life is located in Sanganer, a hub of craft located in Jaipur that has a rich history connected to block printing as a craft.


Sanagner has played a crucial role in the foundation and development of India’s textile manufacturing industry. Since the early 17th century, printers and dyers in the community of Sanagner have worked with biodegradable and eco-friendly dyes, which makes it a great place to look for inspiration, examples and practice of sustainable production.


If you’re interested in reading more about the legacy of textile creation in Sanganer, take a look at our full blog on Sanganer block printing right here.


The first pattern shown in these images is our check print, which is a great example of balancing different colours and placements to create a full pattern. Before any fabrication begins, the artisans must start with carving the block itself. This block is carved with cherry wood, which is easily handled and less brittle than other woods.


As you can see in the images, these blocks create a repeat pattern. In order to start this process, the block is covered with azo free pigments, which are eco friendly inks used for vibrant, ling lasting colours.

women's organic cotton shirt

If you take a close look at our unisex archway check shirt (above), you’ll see that three different colours are needed to create the check pattern in the final garment.


This means that the block printers will repeat the process to painting the blocks, aligning the repeat patterns and printing the fabric three different times, each time with a different colour, in order to create the full effect.


Watch this video to see the process!

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For a great example of the diversity of block printing, take a look at our unisex shirts (shown above), where you’ll see an idea of the different patterns that block printing can create.


So far we’ve used the example of our archway check to show you how block printing is done. This print has a geometric feel to it, with clean lines and literal blocks of colour. But if you take a look at our blue corn block print, you’ll see the huge range of possibility that block printing techniques can produce. Our blue corn pattern shows how you can achieve a larger geometric look through softer shapes. This block printed design uses tiny dots to build its pattern – take a look below to see how this comes together.

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If you look at the carved block up close, you would think that the resulting pattern might turn out to be full of soft edges and organic shapes. This is where block printing can be so playful! When used in a large repeat, these dots come together to create a bold, triangular repeat, combining the tiny soft pattern with bigger, bold edges.

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The final results of these block printing techniques are bold patterns that speak for themselves. This is why we love using block printed fabrics on basic pieces like our unisex shirts. These shirts are ideal for casual wear, and are flattering on all body types. The loose neutral fit and simple silhouette of the shirts lets the block printed pattern stand out.

short sleeved cotton shirt
mens organic cotton shirt
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If you’ve enjoyed this Indigowares story, take a look through our other blogs on block printing and its history:


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