Wood blocks drying in the sun.


Two women mixing inks in front of the drying room.

I went to visit Tharangini, (tharangini, a place on the edge of Sankey Tank in Bangalore that makes block printed fabrics using all natural materials. I had visited before around ten years ago and had forgotten how great this place is. First it is in a beautiful spot on a quiet tree lined street. It’s an enclave in Bangalore, away from the sound and air pollution. They were in the middle of a print run of furnishing fabric designed by Seema Krish. After printing the fabric design, it gets sent to a unit for underprivileged women to have hand stitching. Ten women will work on it at the same time for five hours to complete five meters of cloth.


One of these printers has worked here for decades. He worked for the mother of the current owner, Padmini Govind. Here he is in action, lining up the block for a continuous design. The numbered wood blocks line the walls of the workshop.


Sunitha, my mother in law is having two saris printed. Below, she and my sister-in-law Vinuta are discussing with Padmini to decide which block patterns will work best. I went to see if they could print my truck blocks on fabric. Padmini and her printers ran a test to see how it might work and will continue to try a few different techniques to see how well they can get them to work. My linoleum block prints are shallower than the wood blocks that they use. They also contain large print areas and detailed areas, making it difficult to get a good print using their usual technique. They proposed thickening up their printing ink to make it stickier and using a brayer instead of dipping the block in a tray of ink. I am excited to see their results! I am also going for a workshop on November 5th to learn their fabric printing technique. I’ll let you know how it goes!


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