Literally just before lockdown we returned home from my much longed-for trip to India. For the last 20 years, a trip to India has been on my wish-list. Since launching Truffle Home, I have been sourcing my hand-blocked table linens remotely via emails and postal samples. This was my trigger to persuade Mr Truffle that we needed to plan a trip; part holiday, part business. Alas with events as they are I cannot introduce my newly found artisanal Indian textiles to the Truffle range. Hopefully I can bring them to you for the autumn.
My brief to myself whilst visiting potential new suppliers in India, was to look for suppliers who were using traditional artisan techniques, but who would work with me to interpret them into contemporary table linen.
Our trip started in Delhi and we met a great company who work just outside of the city. They furnished me with a great an array of samples, showing me different methods, techniques, materials and embroidery. So refreshing to deal with such an innovative business!! Not wanting to give too much away, but the autumn range from them will be jewel coloured, but with a soft muted finish.
We then ventured to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Jaipur is known as the home of artisan hand-block printed textiles and is the origin of both the Prisha and Saloni ranges.
Hand-block printing is a craft that has been passed down from generation to generation, since the Mughal empire and has proved a source of inspiration for textile designers the world over. The intricate designs are hand carved with a chisel onto wooden printing blocks (usually made from Teak). The block-printing process is all very much done by hand and is a lengthy and highly skilled process. Hence each piece of printing is unique and with it will have minor irregularities. The weight of pressure upon the block, will determine how much dye is transferred to the fabric. The placement of the block upon the fabric is done by eye, hence no machine precision. These small differences from piece to piece are what makes each piece of table linen unique and is a reflection of their hand-made artisan beauty.
There are literally thousands of design and colour combinations, possible with hand-block printing. Some designs may just involve one colour upon the fabric, other designs require multiple colour blocks to build up the pattern For some designs the printer may stamp the cloth hundreds of times to create a product.
It was great for me to be able to learn more about this beautiful craft and get to have a go myself!!