Visiting a traditional textile printing workshop in Isfahan (+VIDEO)
Ghalamkar, the art of using wooden blocks to create pattern on cloth, is the oldest and most traditional textile printing method. It’s been used in Iran since ancient times and the way it’s done in the present day hasn’t changed for millennia.
It’s a lengthy process (it can take even a week to make one table cloth) but the results are astonishing!
The principle is very simple: first a thick wooden block is carved so that its surface contains a pattern. Then, it is dunked in paint and pressed onto the cloth. There are usually several different patterns and colours used to achieve the most stunning effect.
The birth of a table cloth
1 – First the material is cut to the right size. The best quality results are achieved using 100% cotton.
2 – The material is washed in the river for it to shrink
3 – The cloth is taken back to the city and the tassels are made
4 – The black pattern is applied
5 – The blue colour is applied using natural colorants like lapiz lazuli, indigo and turquoise
6 – The yellow colour is applied using the skin of pomegranate, henna and saffron
7 – The red colour is applied using beetroot and alum stone
8 – The material is then washed three times in the river in order to blend the colours together and mix them with the water’s minerals
9 – The background is washed to achieve a striking contrast
10 – The cloth is steamed for a couple of hours
11 – The textile is dried in the sun
While in Isfahan we had a unique opportunity to visit a traditional woodblock printer’s workshop and in the below video you can learn all you need to know about this age old craft.
Where to find this workshop
If you have a chance, we recommend that you visit them during your next time in Isfahan and have a look with your own eyes how a table cloth is made.
To buy a unique souvenir with a UNESCO certificate, find their workshop at:
Reza Sedighi Fard
Chistsazha Bazaar on Naghsh-e-Jahan Square, Isfahan
No. 1.17-shalleh Arcade – When you enter the bazaar, turn into the first alley to your right and go until the end. You will see a courtyard and the workshop is at the back to the left.
You can place international orders at: firstname.lastname@example.org or +98 9133195593 / +98 3132217936
written by: Ania