block printing

Here at Canvas+Sasson we are privileged to have access to the time-honoured textiles process of Block Printing. Our crafts men and women in India are the treasured foundation of all our Canvas+Sasson textiles. Below is a detailed description of how our textiles are created, with a video of our supplier in India...

The three main tools of a block printed fabric are the wooden blocks, the fabric and the dye. Like most crafts in India the skill of block carving is passed down from father to son. Open fronted shops dotted along the road are filled ceiling high with stacks of wood ready for carving. Chhippas also known as printers, squat at small tables with their traditional tool kit and begin carving intricate patterns into the wood. The surface used for printing is a saree length table around 6 meters that is padded with many layers of cloth.

The printer aligns the first block to the corner of the fabric and with incredibly precise hand eye coordination and gives a sharp tap then release to transfer the ink on to the fabric this same process is repeated along the length and width of the fabric. Once the pattern is finished on the whole length of fabric, the piece is treated to fix the dyes. The fabric is then washed to remove impurities and then dried in the sun. Each of these steps contributes to fixing the pigment and making the colours rich and vibrant.


It can take five carvers up to three days to create an intricate design in a block of teak for use as a printing block. Separate blocks are required for each of the colours used in a design and it is not unusual to have four or five colours in a design.