TULSI is hand block printed by artisans located in a nearby village in Rajasthan, India where block printing dates back over 350 years.. The blocks are hand carved out of sisam wood by many talented skilled local block carvers. Traditionally, blocks are no larger than about eight by eight inches but we have explored creative ways to merge blocks together to form a large shape or pattern.
Fabric is vigorously and carefully washed to prepare it for printing where it is laid flat on a long wooden table. Careful measurements and registration is taken to ensure a great print and overall harmony to the design. Ink is based on vegetable and plant pigment as well iron and sugar or jagery to make up our black color. The block printer dips each block into the ink and applies to the fabric all hand done step by step to accomplish the design. The finished piece is then washed again to ensure a beautiful softness and feel.
We will sometimes work with a mud resit process called Dabu. Dabu is made of clay, guar gum, wheat flower, and lime. The design is blocked using this paste then covered with sawdust and placed to dry in the sun. Once ready the fabric is then submerged into a dye or wash bath and the design is shown with a bit of textural edge to it as the mud and sawdust creates an uneven and natural feel to the block printed area different than that of discharging an area on fabric.
Finally, the fabric is boiled, washed, and placed flat on the earthen village desert to dry and take on its own unique color and feel. Each piece is truly a work of art and piece of nature.
Tulsi works direct and onsite with artisans overseeing production and quality of work conditions as well fair labor. We hand assemble, tag, and pack all goods from our studio in upstate New York. Our designs start from loose sketches and some have been made right on site in India when that a ha moment comes and you have to just set the blocks up and go for it.