Hands that Make (2022 - ongoing)​​​​​​​
Portrait of Seduram Chippa — a veteran block-printmaker based in Bagru, Rajasthan
Portrait of Seduram Chippa — a veteran block-printmaker based in Bagru, Rajasthan
Seduram Chippa watches over Anjali Jain — a Chicago-based researcher of living archives — as she makes a block-print
Seduram Chippa watches over Anjali Jain — a Chicago-based researcher of living archives — as she makes a block-print
Portrait of Dayaram Rajput — a block-printmaker based in Bagru, Rajasthan. Originally from Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, Mr Rajput moved to Rajasthan in the 1980s in search of work.
Portrait of Dayaram Rajput — a block-printmaker based in Bagru, Rajasthan. Originally from Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, Mr Rajput moved to Rajasthan in the 1980s in search of work.
Dayaram Rajput at Work
Dayaram Rajput at Work
Detail of the hands of Dayaram Rajput — a block-printmaker based in Bagru, Rajasthan
Detail of the hands of Dayaram Rajput — a block-printmaker based in Bagru, Rajasthan
Portrait of Aravind Sharma. Dayaram Rajput's protege, Aravind Sharma, came with Mr Rajput to Bagru in the Eighties. Like his mentor, Mr Sharma too is from Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh.
Portrait of Aravind Sharma. Dayaram Rajput's protege, Aravind Sharma, came with Mr Rajput to Bagru in the Eighties. Like his mentor, Mr Sharma too is from Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh.
Detail of Aravind Sharma's right thumb — the lasting damage from decades of working with caustic materials in harsh conditions is made visible by the scarring and calcification of the skin.
Detail of Aravind Sharma's right thumb — the lasting damage from decades of working with caustic materials in harsh conditions is made visible by the scarring and calcification of the skin.
A complete set of blocks may take as long as several weeks to make and cost as much as 1 Lakh Indian Rupees, but such intricate and expensive sets are increasingly rare. Although the block-printing industry in Bagru has experienced a sort of revival in recent years, wages and margins remain abysmally low.
A complete set of blocks may take as long as several weeks to make and cost as much as 1 Lakh Indian Rupees, but such intricate and expensive sets are increasingly rare. Although the block-printing industry in Bagru has experienced a sort of revival in recent years, wages and margins remain abysmally low.
Rajendar Rajput designs a wood block. The process of making a block print begins with designing the wood block. Artisans like Rajendar Rajput first draw the pattern on a piece of paper using simple tools such as a compass and ruler as seen in the image.
Rajendar Rajput designs a wood block. The process of making a block print begins with designing the wood block. Artisans like Rajendar Rajput first draw the pattern on a piece of paper using simple tools such as a compass and ruler as seen in the image.
Rajendar Rajput designs a wood block. The process of making a block print begins with designing the wood block. Artisans like Rajendar Rajput first draw the pattern on a piece of paper using simple tools such as a compass and ruler as seen in the image.
Rajendar Rajput designs a wood block. The process of making a block print begins with designing the wood block. Artisans like Rajendar Rajput first draw the pattern on a piece of paper using simple tools such as a compass and ruler as seen in the image.
The hand-drawn paper template is then attached to a piece of Sheesham or Akashi wood using wax. Designs (such as the floral motif seen in this image) are carved by hand using a hammer and chisels. It takes an experienced craftsman between one day and a week to carve a block depending on the intricacy of the design and the size of the block.
The hand-drawn paper template is then attached to a piece of Sheesham or Akashi wood using wax. Designs (such as the floral motif seen in this image) are carved by hand using a hammer and chisels. It takes an experienced craftsman between one day and a week to carve a block depending on the intricacy of the design and the size of the block.
Detail of a wood-block used to make prints
Detail of a wood-block used to make prints