This love for creating has allowed her to dabble in architecture, furniture and art. Now, the youngster is doing a series where she explores the technique of woodblock printing beyond fabrics. “Historically, there has always been a strong connection between the patterns in textile and motifs used in buildings and paintings of a certain time, especially in the Mughal Era. One may find a pattern carved in the Humayun’s tomb printed on an heirloom fabric. Such shared aesthetic language over so many mediums made me question whether there was any difference between art, fashion and architecture. Is it only art if it is on a canvas, is it not art if printed on fabric? Convinced that the overlap of these creative mediums only allows for the medium to grow, I attempted to explore the technique of woodblock printing beyond fabrics,” says Prithy.
She is heavily inspired by the textures, patterns and volumes found in built environments and their relation with the unbuilt. “A connecting thread throughout the series is also a presence of a vertical, that symbolises new methods of travel, maybe, to newer dimensions, blurring the lines between subjectivity and objectivity. My process of working on the series was very organic and something that was marinating in my mind for several years. It started off as a series of sketches, keeping in mind the block printing technique. After a set of sketches were coming together to make a series, I divided them into the blocks that were needed to print them. The blocks were then made by a family of block printers in Kolkata. The paper I selected for the works were sheets made from scraps of cotton recycled from the garment industry. I found it apt to print on sheets made of cotton pulp since it had a memory of textile in it,” she explains the process.
The dyes that were used for printing are azo-free, chemical-free dyes and each colour was mixed exclusively for the series. The printing process was done at a studio in Auroville named Lal Studio by experienced block printer Nasir. According to her, it is impossible for one medium to not be inspired by the other. “For eg, fashion and architecture both ultimately work to provide a ‘shell’ for the humans. Early men in fact wore the same material for their clothing as they did for their roof – eg. coconut leaves, and now we have designers like Rimzim Dadu making beautiful sarees out of metal. Like I mentioned murals found in historic buildings shared the same aesthetics as the clothing made at that time. In the Mughal era, there was a famous artist in Jehangir’s court named Mansur. He frequently painted highly detailed artworks or flowers like iris, poppies and narcissus. The most common imagery of the time. The same imagery can be found in their buildings in the form of wall murals or relief work and even in their crockery. So, possibilities are endless once we look at these disciplines and understand the shared process between them all,” Prithy sums up.