I just returned from a tour of India. My best friend got married in Kochi, and then I spent the rest of my visit between New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. My favorite place was Jaipur, Rajasthan. As this city is high in the mountains without a great source of agriculture or water, the city relied on trade for food, and hence developed a great arts and crafts culture. It is well known for fine textiles, including block printing and embroidery. I purchased enough textiles to fill two large duffel bags (acquired at a New Delhi market for 500 Rs. total, or about $8), and will share photos soon.
I wanted to post a brief update of some of the block printing demos from Jaipur:
All the inks are vegetable or plant based. They had a stamp-pad like tray with cheesecloth and ink.
This is a four color print.
First, the key image is printed.
Other layers are hand registered by carefully aligning one edge and then setting the block down. You pound the block with your fist to apply pressure. (Hello Iron Palm training!)
All four colors.
Typically the fabrics are dried in the sun a few days and the colors change. They did a shortcut here by dropping the cloth in these two solutions.