Block printing in Bhuj.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bhuj is a minefield of artisans and craftsmen. One couldn't stop wondering about the huge amounts of talent in the villages of Gujarat. If in Rajasthan I was travelling from state to state marvelling at her gorgeous palaces, in bhuj, we went from village to village admiring the varied handi-work of the men and women - be it bell making, embroidery, block printing, mirror work, the list is just endless. I am especially smitten by block printing. And I love the thought of one day having a collection of blocks myself. We stopped at this place which clearly caters to a large part of urban India's fascination with ethnic fabrics. It was clear from how single-mindedly and professionally they just went about their work, very much used to a steady stream of visitors oohing and aahing at their work.
The owner took us through the process, told us how they use only natural dyes, how a certain plant is boiled for hours on end till it all turns blue and how it is then sundried to form cakes of indigo.
But what stole my heart was the very many intricate blocks that just seemingly littered the compound. I could just potter around all day photographing them.

Isn't this one a beaut? Sharp metal for the dots and soft wood for the flowers.
I could have given an arm or leg for a block of this brilliance.
circles ans squares
and squiggly little patterns
I waaaannnttt!
And this is how it is neatly done.

But it is the concentration and patience and precision of an artisan, that goes to make each piece as beautiful as it is.

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