The Indian Textile Manufacturing units have been very prominent for its textile products since ancient times. India is the second leading manufacturer of textiles in the world. The consolidated textile industry of India is ranging over the states like Gujarat, Varanasi, Rajasthan and West Bengal. It is also true that Varanasi, a leading state in the country has been famed for its textiles and especially dyeing and printing crafts since ancient times. There is an important economic reputation of this sector in the state in the whole value chain from farm to fabric and garments with an innovative idea and diversified products.
Textile printing comprises the manufacture of a predetermined colored design on fabric, usually with a definite repeat. This can be described as a restricted form of dyeing, applying colorant to selected areas of the fabric to build up the design. The supreme change in the fashion and design that has ever occurred in European textiles was the universal introduction of printed fabrics.
One of the earliest methods of textile printing was the painting of a design on the cloth using a bamboo pen or brush. The technique was widely used in India to produce a range of elaborate and beautiful designs. Indian printed fabrics began to be imported into Europe in the late sixteenth century. The designs were based upon floral motifs and these formed the basis for early European printed designs. Penciling was used in Europe until the early nineteenth century. The method supplemented hand-block printing.
Gujarat is the largest producer of cotton in our country supplies its raw materials to Varanasi. Various modes of dyeing and printing have been developed highly in Varanasi from the beginning of the 19th Century. Including Varanasi, other states like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Jaipur and Kutch are a few places where dyeing and printing productions are developed in cotton materials.
This method of printing patterns on cloth is used across India, but the tradition is strongest in Varanasi where societies of hand textile printers once prospered. Woodblock printing is a technique which is used for printing text, images or pattern which are widely in demand, this technique is very prevalent in the European part of the world and majorly determined by India. This technique is used to print on cloth with the help of a wooden block. The printing of fabrics with hand blocks is fundamentally similar to the use of a rubber stamp and an ink pad. Although block printing is perhaps the oldest method of the local application of color to fabrics, it still persists but it is mainly confined to the decoration of scarves and sarees. As blocks are generally made of pear wood which is cut so that the design is raised in relief; the blocks are about 3 to 4 inches in thickness and vary in size up to 9 maximum of 18 inches square. Beyond 18 inches, lies the screen printing process which is practiced by the professionals in a similar society.
According to the artisans, they have been practicing this art after a professional training from their seniors of the family and are following the tradition from the last 11 years. An artisan can complete a saree in about 40 minutes and can complete about 4 sarees a day, this total time can prolong according to the design and patterns of the customer's demand. When interviewed Mr. Sonu Singh, it was observed that the industry was set up a couple of years ago with the staff of four which turned to fifteen. This process is very slow and covers every detail in the fabric.