A print starts with the design, drawn on paper and carved into the Sheesham wood block. Designs are meticulously carved by hand into the blocks which are approximately 18-25 cm across. The physical block is the design for a single repeat which is then stamped in rows across the fabric. Each colour in the design is carved into a separate block. The outline block or ‘rekh’, is the most intricate and usually stamped first; it is typically the outline for a floral or lattice type design. Next comes the fill block or ‘Datta’ and possibly the ground colour block or wood depending on the colour scheme used. Block carving is in itself an art requiring years of apprenticeship to gain mastery and is done entirely by hand.
Firstly, a design is drawn on the paper which is going to be carved on the wooden block. These designs can be inspired by Sanganeri prints, Mughal prints, motifs, etc. After the design drawing, the design is traced and carved on the wooden blocks by hand. The block craving is done separately for individual colour.
E.g. If two colours i.e. ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ are being used in the design, then woodblock carving is done on two individual blocks for different colours. The woodblock carving is done carefully and requires years of experience and apprenticeship to gain mastery, leaving behind the required design carved beautifully.