Behind the scenes of hand block-printing
The clarity of working with and supporting communities of artisans has always been part of Love the World Today’s vision. To really celebrate textile art and promote it through our designs is something that Dipti and I hold very close to our hearts.
As we are inching closer to launching our new cotton hand block-printed festive edit ‘This Little Light of Mine’ and seeing this beautiful collection come to life, here’s taking you on a behind the scenes journey from our trip to our new artisans and showing you what goes behind bringing something to life.
Some of the biggest life lessons we’ve learnt have been thanks to these work trips. Trips that make us love the world today and everyday, a little more!
We truly hope in the age of short format content, reels, algorithms, numbers, and a few seconds to catch attention, you’ll take some time to join us on this journey where we’ll be sharing a slice of our lives at Love the World Today with you. For it truly is what makes this brand what it is - the artisans, the craft, the love, the time, the thought, the patience, the joy!
I grew up seeing my best friend’s dad run a block printing company. It’s not an alien craft to me and yet, my mind was blown away at the word go seeing a block being hand carved. Every process of block printing - from drawing to tracing the design, carving the block, stretching the fabric, making the colour, printing on the fabric, washing the fabric, drying the fabric, every part involves human hands. And what can be more magical than that?
Imagine 1000s of meters of fabric being printed by human hands in the most matter of fact way because this is all these hands have known or done. It’s seeing art come to life in the most mundane human way.
That’s Ram Ratan Ji leading all the colour making. That’s his expertise and you can challenge him with any shade of Pantone and he will happily take it on and give you the shade in 5 minutes flat!
This was one of the most therapeutic processes for me. Just seeing colours swirl, change and become. A little addition of another and the whole colour changes. Much like us, no? Aren’t we all just swirling and changing and becoming all through life?
Our process has never been to study what’s trending. It’s always been to create clothes that are inspired by parts of us and that are timeless! Digging out and pouring all of the little favourite things that have been in our lives into our collections so they carry a little bit of us and our personal stories.
The artisan’s hands beat the block repeatedly like a hammer to transfer the design onto the fabric. Now imagine repeating this a few hundred times for just 5.5-6 meters of fabric (that’s the usual fabric that can be stretched at one go)
While we sampled various combinations, and watched these artisan hands create with such surety and precision of speed, pressure, placement and repetition…
I couldn’t get my eyes off their hands. And that made me realise how beating the wood block like a hammer with their bare hands might be impacting their hands and wrists. One of the most senior artisans who has been doing this for nearly 30 years, you could visibly notice his dominant hand a little bigger than the other hand.
I think moments of working in such closeness and having the time to purely observe makes you look at everything in such a macro lens and it’s such a humbling experience. I don’t think I’ll ever wear a hand block-printed outfit without taking a moment to really really notice what I am wearing and say thank you to the hands that make such beauty.
We even had a go at it ourselves. And these artisans patiently and encouragingly let us break their flow and then teach us a bit about their craft.
Aligning the joint / point where the two blocks meet needs a certain focus and experience. I have no idea how they do it with such confidence, precision and speed.
Our design philosophy at Love the World Today revolves around - PLAY
The one thing we forget as we grow up! But something we consciously try and indulge in in our ways of working at Love the World Today
Not everything needs to become. Likewise not all prints or colours or designs need to become. Sometimes we just play, experiment and mix things up to arrive at something that at a very instinct level seems right. And then we go on to pursue that idea.
Probably a good time to share one of my favourite quotes by Leo Buscaglia,
‘It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them’
And as we grow, replace learning with ‘work’.
We hope you’re able to receive all the joy that goes into hand making textiles when you wear them. I hope the next time you hold a hand block-printed outfit in your hand, you really take the time to touch, feel and notice how many times an artisan must have had to beat the block on it to create this magic. And then hold the outfit close, love it, cherish it and wear it for as long as you can!
Handmade truly is luxury.
Dipti and Dipna
[sisters and co-founders at Love the World Today ]