With an inclination to work towards the art segment, Abhishek Ladha chose to take his father’s passion towards tie & dye and block printing forward with an innovative twist. Having worked in the corporate sector for around six years, Abhishek finally chose to follow his calling for something creative, which paved the way for Macreates, a block printing studio where he conducts workshops on one or two Sundays of a month at Somajiguda which though has come to hold due to the pandemic.
“The idea behind Macreates was to create a brand which people could associate to and where they can come learn block printing and tie-dye. There were no workshops on these traditional dyeing processes until then in the city. So, we came up with Macreates to promote traditional art forms so more people understand the work and also make products of their own,” says Abhishek.
While Abhishek’s main core business is into wholesale production, he along with his team of 17, also take up orders from many designers in the city. Abhishek and his father decide on the suitable designs, while their team of workers brings them to reality.
Explaining about the colours used in the block printings, he says, “Block printing is basically carving designs onto wooden pieces and using these blocks as stamps where we dab them into colour trays and print on any kind of textile products. These colours are eco-friendly and are chemical-free synthetic colours which do not contain chemical azo compounds. These colours are not harmful as the normal synthetic colours. The printing takes around 45 minutes to an hour to dry.” These colours are mixed with textile adhesives (The secrets won’t be revealed, says Abhishek) for the colour to stick better on the cloth. These prints are mostly made on any textile fabrics like silk, linen and “mostly cotton fabrics as for the market demand. These colours usually last up to around 150 to 200 washes,” he adds.
The blocks made by their carving expert at their workshop center. They are mostly made from teak wood so it doesn’t crack or bend with repeated washes on colour and water. Otherwise, the blocks can also be made from Burma wood, seasoned wood and pear wood.
When quizzed on how they maintain consistency between one block print to the other, Abhishek says, “This comes through practice which comes naturally once it becomes a habit. Also, block printing usually has an inconsistency which differentiates it with the machine printed products. It is a human thing and it cannot always be the same. So, there might be some inconsistency too. Also, we chalk out on the cloth for certain pattern designs.”