Bhagchand Chhipa was all of 10 years old when he joined his family on the block printing table. The 1975 born Bhagchand, had seen both his mother and father toil it out day and night, imprinting beautiful concurrent patterns on cotton and silk fabrics using hand-carved blocks dipped in natural colours. Little did the keen observer know, he would be called upon to help out at an early age due to the challenging financial conditions at home. The middle school dropout has been working for more than 35 years now, mastering the craft along the way. Not only does he love his work but he believes he was destined for it.
In over 3 decades, Bhagchand has seen the craft, market and the cluster undergo several changes. He has seen demand dip to extreme lows, forcing several block printers out of the craft. He has also observed the increasing use of synthetic colours as well as changes in some of the processes. Not adverse to changes, Bhagchand still prefers the old ways of using colours derived from natural resources, hand-carved blocks which and following all the pre- and post-printing processes diligently. However, when it comes to experimenting with creating new variety of products, designs, colours and motifs, he is an enthusiastic participant.
Bhagchand is supported by his mother, wife and two children in his work. With the children being young, enterprising and tech savvy, they also help with the marketing. He has taught the craft to several other artisans from the community as well. With the gradual increase in the demand for genuine hand block printed products, he hopes the benefits trickle down and reach the artisans, who often face the brunt of down-cycles but are not rewarded adequately when demand surges. With customers gradually becoming more sensitised about arts, crafts, craftsmen and all the hard work, he foresees a bright future ahead for the coming generations who wish to take forward this great heritage.