Block Printing – The contemporary version
As human beings, we started off with very minimal needs. What mattered was – food, clothing and shelter. Most of our ancestors lived the humble life, trying to fulfill the above needs. As we moved ahead in time, life offered us things that were way beyond the original 3 needs. It is our wants that have now become our needs.If we look at the economics version of want, it is just one step higher than need. It is something that we may or may not be able to obtain. But sadly, we are stretching too far to obtain our wants.
Wondering, what I am trying to put forward? It is nothing, but how we are breaking down the composition of nature for our selfish wants. Forest cover is getting killed for construction, water bodies are being polluted by industries in the name of industrialization, air is getting polluted by cars for the sake of modernization. Not to forget food being adulterated in the name of politics!
Every country needs growth and development. We need roads, more places to stay, more industries to grow. But are we playing the balancing act? Have we been able to give back to nature just the way we have taken away from it? I don’t think so.
There is so much that we have taken away from the environment, that now we are at a loss. A whole industry is facing major challenges because water, which is the universal need is depleting. We all know about the current water crisis in India. Women and children walk miles to fetch water which is their basic need. Diseases, deaths all have been a result of adulterated water. And all because, we have taken away what was given to us and never returned it.
Through this blog, we focus on the block printing industry in India. The blog is in collaboration with The Co Company. Everyone is talking about “Make In India” and how we should take it to the next level. The Co Company is actually working towards a better tomorrow for the textile industry in order to make it a flourishing and fulfilling space to be in.
The block printing or dyeing industry in India has flourished since the 12th Century.It has survived these many centuries, inspite of being painstaking and labor-intensive. The reason for it’s survival is in the beauty that it produces. Regions like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are the largest hubs for hand block printing. A vast amount of water is used throughout all the operations. The industry needs flowing water which is treated and given back to the environment. the untreated chemical water from dyes actually pollute the groundwater which is harmful. With this to and fro of water, a large amount of usable water is actually destroyed. How do we make the industry survive? Someone needs to give a solution. We cannot let age old art forms like these die because of ill practices done by humans. Save every drop. Recycle water. Treat them and put them back into the ecosystem.
The Co Company and I are bringing forward some beautiful hand woven lock printing done by artisans. Kalamkari, bagru, ajrak, jahota, dabu have been the common and ancient art of hand block. However, with global appeal and influence of the western world, modern prints have been accommodated.
Kurta by Day, dress by night:
While i speak about reuse and recycle, this beautiful hand block dress given to me by The Co Company, just fits the space. This asymmetrical dress is quirky and has well defined ages. The fit is modern while the look is contemporary. Yet, it holds the essence of an art form that goes back to the 12th Century.
Since, this was a dress, I wanted to give it a different styling as well. Therefore, thought of converting contemporary into traditional.
The Humble Tunic:
We all own that one, anytime-you-can-wear top. This cute hand block tunic from The Co Company is just that perfect piece of outfit for your wardrobe. The adorable car print on the lovely ink blue makes it a must have. This got paired with a cream palazzo, so that the top is all that you notice. One can wear it with long flowing skirts, formal trousers or even as a blouse to a plain hand woven saree.
Let’s get together and save every drop of water that we can. We will not only save the environment and the ecosystem, but also help the survival of industries like block printing and dyeing.
Wardrobe courtesy – The Co Company
Photographs by – Anshul Mehta