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Hand Block Printing

Hand block printing is an ancient craft with historical roots in many parts of the world, including India.

By Tamara Howie

Printer Raju Rathi is passionate about his craft and opened Jatin Handicraft in Pushkar, India in 2009.

Jatin Handicraft’s vision is to support and help develop the traditional handicrafts of the women in the Barmer region of southwest Rajasthan and Rathi ensures the majority of profits go directly to the artists.

Rathi will be in Darwin in May for a residency at Accomplice, and will be sharing his skills and knowledge at two workshops.

“The focus of the residency at Accomplice is to exchange two native skills, and make a fusion of two art forms to create something that represents both nations,” he says.

“I have never been to Australia before but have a keen interest in Aboriginal art and am very much looking forward to being a part of this native art craft project.”

Rathi wants to keep traditional, local art alive and encourage new artists, while working with locals and the wider community to make a sustainable future for his artists.

Rathi travelled extensively around India and learned from the locals about the different textile traditions in each region.

“It’s difficult to say how old this technique is, however, much research has been carried out and it has been said it may have its origins in the 15th century,” he says.

“It is also found in ancient Indus valley civilization Mohenjo-Daro.”

“Block printing by hand is a slow process. It is however capable of yielding highly artistic results, some of which are unobtainable by any other methods.”

Rathi was brought up in the Barmer area of Rajasthan where he was exposed to native block print techniques and began to learn from printers who had been working in this way for the last 40 years.  

Rathi now teaches the younger generation to integrate traditional art with styles of the modern era.

His workshops in Darwin will cover all the basics of the art form.

“Participants will be learning the basics about wooden block print – how to prepare fabric, colour and to apply wood block on fabric step by step,” Rathi says.

“Participants may follow a design or make their own design with wood block.”

SAT 19 MAY 2018 | 10:00am to 4:00pm | ACCOMPLICE | $130

See the event listing.

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