Abraham & Thakore’s interest in creating block printed textiles stems from a belief that traditional local crafts and livelihoods must be encouraged and sustained, especially in a world of mass production and throwaway consumerism.
The value addition of limited quantities, hand-done block printed fabrics needs to be understood and appreciated by the final consumer- and in doing so, they can support a sustainable ecosystem where the craftsperson is ensured a regular income.
Block printing – one of the oldest crafts in India – uses the technique of ornamenting fabric using traditional carved wooden blocks to create pattern and color. While the history of block printing can be traced back to the time of Alexander the Great (327 BC), to keep it alive and flourishing requires consumer patronage and understanding of the crafts' value.
The skill and expertise of printing lies firstly in the carving of the wooden block – the more intricate the motif, the more skill required to carve the block – and secondly, in the actual printing so that each successive repeat of the block is matched continuously to create an allover pattern
A&T has always looked at the traditional techniques of printing and tried to make it contemporary and relevant. The “BlockBlackWhite“ collection showcased at AIFW in 2018, for instance, looked at using both the line, as a motif, in varying widths to create a block printed surface in graphic black and white or scaling up a delicate Mughal flower motif into an oversized pattern.
In the Gujarat collection, shown in 2012 the very idea of using a patterned block was put into question and resulted in the idea of using the uncarved block just to create an allover printed texture, without motifs.
Celebrate the luxury of A&T block printed offers both at their stores and online – and the knowledge that imperfection and variation in printing is a sign, not of the defect but the power of the human hand.