Ragini Siruguri, designer for Tara Books and self-isolating at the Tara Books Building in Chennai, recently hosted a live session on Instagram on printmaking
We often take the process of printing for granted, imagining pages and prints simply flying out of a machine. However, Ragini Siruguri, designer for Tara Books, brought our attention back to the various processes that constitute the printmaking process, something that Tara Books have been immersed in over the past many years.
An example of a digital print
The session began with Ragini talking about the most commercial options in the market – digital and offset printing. The simple one page print in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK or Key) would result in a digital print, whereas, offset printing would involve rather large printers that rolled each colour coded blanket of CMYK separately to produce a composite print. Pausing her explanation to address queries alongside, she answered the question of why CMYK and not RGB? ‘RGB is essentially a mixture of red, green and blue light not ink, but CMYK is cyan ink, magenta ink, yellow ink and black ink. So anytime you are looking at colours on a screen, say you are designing a website you would use RGB colours, but if you’re using something for print, you will use CMYK.’ Addressing the difference between handmade processes and digital ones from the start was an excellent way to reach out to the audience as the familiarity towards the digital today is more than the familiarity towards a handmade process. The session progressed more towards the beauty of tactile printing and the reason why hand-printing was more effective in terms of the vision of Tara Books itself.
Hick!, an example of risograph printing
Often, their books came about by chance, and rather organically, which made the passion for the craft that much richer. Perhaps the visuals that were most fascinating were that of the textile-printed books that used the ‘Mata ni Pachedi’ painting technique. As a way of connecting with the Goddess herself, this folk art originated in Gujarat. The format of the book could even be compared to the altar panels that one observes in the medieval times of Europe. Opening up to reveal a spiritual homage to their respective Gods and Goddesses, it is incredible that the traditions were so well reflected in such a brief session.
Mata ni Pachedi, textile print made in collaboration with artist Jagdish Chitara
‘We believe that they are more than books, they are cultural objects,’ is a powerful idea, one that powers Tara’s vision, where the celebration of the local and connection with the global narrative is exquisite. In this session alone, the effort of a team, the insight of the artisan as well as the love for both traditional and graceful visuals was all so visible, and all so magically combined to create that singular Tara book.