Fabric Printing Workshop

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Dyes on the studio wall remind me of a Cy Twombly painting.

Yesterday I took a fabric printing workshop at Tharangini in Bengaluru (the city has officially changed it’s name since the last post). It was so much fun to spend time in the studio, touching the beautiful wood blocks and printing with them. We began by practicing on a sheet of wrapping paper and a gift bag. We were then given two cushion covers to design and we could choose from the hundreds of blocks lining the walls. The printing process is quite different from block printing with a brayer and printing ink. The textile color is not as tacky. It is spread onto a flexible support and overlaid with a rough jute fabric for blocks with larger print areas. For finer blocks a fine smooth muslin is put on top of the jute and the ink is encouraged to seep up through the layers.

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The owner, Padmini, told us about the history of Tharangini, then introduced us to some of the materials and the steaming process. Everything used in the dying and printing process is Eco friendly and often organic.

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Gum Arabic on the upper right and pomegranate rinds on the bottom. The pomegranate makes a dull lime green color.

The steaming area for fixing silk dyes.

The steaming area for fixing silk dyes.

The container on top of the red oven in the foreground is where the water is heated, it is then piped into the tall metal cylinder behind, where the fabric is first top loaded and then steamed. The cone in the foreground goes on top.

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For me one of the greatest highlights was seeing the teak wood blocks being carved. The artisan had his small chisels custom made in Calcutta. I love how he lightly outlines the pattern first, then carves with chisels and mallet to get a deep relief carving. Teak is a very hard and durable wood. I’m in awe of this craft.

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2 thoughts on “Fabric Printing Workshop

  1. This fabric painting post is SO cool, Mardy!
    It sounds/looks like you’re having an amazing adventure on the opposite side of the world! I love your posts, look forward to reading new ones, and enjoy traveling vicariously through them.
    Thanks so much for sharing!!!!
    Miss you! Love, Janie

    Like

  2. Oh, I loved this place! It’s quiet, and the block printing is beautiful. I was there a year ago and might have keeled over if I’d been there when they were printing Seema Krish fabrics! I hope to be lucky enough to be in Bengaluru again when they’re doing a workshop. I’m also in Chicago area, my husband’s from Chennai and he travels frequently to India. I tag along when I can which is too rare. Your blog is making me have to go back … Deb

    Like

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