The Fine Art of Ajrak
Only wooden blocks are used in Ajrak printing as wood absorbs the color better and more uniformly. The blocks used in the first stage of printing are made of shisham and the blocks used in the third and fourth stages are made of teak.
The blocks are soaked in mustard oil when not in use so that they do not expand in rainy season. The process by which Ajrak is created is considered intuitive to the Ajrak makers. It is not merely a job for the craftsperson but a form of life.
The authentic Ajrak is printed on both sides by a method known as resist printing. This form of printing is done by hand with hand-carved wooden blocks. Several different blocks are used to give the characteristics repeated patterning. The block maker uses a compass and a ruler for precision while making the graphs for the patterns, as their balance has to be perfect. Block making, which is a family craft that has been passed down from generation to generation, is a considerable challenge as the pattern has to fit perfectly with the whole of the Ajrakh as well as cover various areas against dye.