Maureen and Kristin are in India at the moment working with the co-ops on next Spring’s collection and even getting started on Fall 2012.  This past weekend they visited one of the block printers where we source our fabric.  Maureen said they got a lot of great photos and video, and it motivated me to finally get these pictures up from last summer when Michelle and I visited another block printer we use.

Block printing is a traditional method of applying patterns and prints to fabric. The designs are stamped onto the fabric by hand. It is a technique that is pretty rare these days, as factory production has taken over. We are very proud to support this beautiful and ancient craft.

This block printer is a family run operation.  In the photo you can see the father (in the long sleeve blue button down), his three sons (on the left, middle, and right) and his brother (in the long white dhoti).  They are a Muslim family, and it was actually a Muslim holiday when we visited, so their employees had several days off.  The whole family, however, came in to show us their business.

One of their block printers also came in that day to give us a demonstration, but he said he didn’t mind because he is Hindu.

He’s all alone today.

Here he’s working his magic.

The designs are carved in blocks of wood.  This business has been in the family for generations, and as you can see, they have accumulated shelves and shelves of blocks over the years.  Michelle and I set to work sorting through the blocks to find ones we’d like to use in future collections.

Michelle displays a block.

Some of the blocks are counterparts of each other for one design.  This is how they put 2 or more colors onto fabric.  Each color is a different block.  Here are some examples.

We also got to see some fabric dying action.

Hanging the fabrics to dry:

Here are some beautiful pictures of the fabrics drying in the wind.