Dahlia Daydreams, our floral, romantic print, captivates the eyes, heart, and soul. This gorgeous print is another dream plucked out of our designer Anisha’s brimming imagination. Anisha is here to reveal her sources of inspiration for Dahlia Daydreams. We will also take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Dahlia Daydreams in our artisan studios in Rajasthan, India to acknowledge the time, skill, and thought that goes into making our original prints. Lose yourself in sweet summertime memories, basking in the sun-drenched glowing of a field of raspberry hued pom pom dahlias…Meet Dahlia Daydreams.
Dahlia Daydreams: a peek into our designer’s mind
Anisha, Saffron Marigold’s designer, is the heart and brain behind all of our collections. For Anisha, Dahlia Daydreams hearkens back to special times in her childhood when she would attend flower shows with her father in Pune, India, her hometown. She tells us that the most coveted prizes were always the one for best dahlias, and she was always amazed by all the different varieties, sizes, and colors of dahlias.
Stage 1: Early sketches and light-bulb moments
Putting pencil to paper, Anisha kickstarts the design process with sketches. Immediately, she recognizes that the dahlias’ meticulous and symmetrical blooms would need special attention—each quill would need to be painstakingly hand carved to honor the flowers’ genuine appearance.
There are many varieties of dahlias, from the small, rounded pom pom dahlia to the giant, decorative Gitts Perfection dahlia with blooms the size of dinnerplates. Anisha’s muse is the pom pom dahlia with its spherical form and mesmerizing quills that come in an array of glowing colors like fireworks against a dark summer sky.
The primary print
These sketches give us a glimpse into Anisha’s creation process and remind us that each and every collection at Saffron Marigold is one-of-a-kind. Original prints and colorways produced by hand every step of the way—this is Saffron Marigold’s trademark.
The primary print is a meadow of dahlias equal in size and shape, enmeshed in tender foliage and buds.
The coordinating print
While the primary print in Dahlia Daydreams boasts an endless field of blooms, the complementary print manifests as a structured, stately floral arrangement set in a classic amphora vase. Unlike the realistic primary print, this style resembles a Neo-Impressionism style, giving our Dahlia Daydreams collection a unique, modern twist.
Stage 2: Block carving, a centuries-old technique for a modern-day pattern
Block carving is an intricate, labor-intensive artform. Every separate element of the design must be transferred onto wooden blocks through tracing, carving, and chiseling techniques—all by hand! In total, we used 16 blocks for Dahlia Daydreams, five for the main print, four for the coordinating print, and seven for the border.
Before each wood block is carved, our specialists must trace the pattern onto paper. These outlines, like the one pictured above, act as stencils to help artisans accurately carve the design into the wood blocks. Naturally, such a detailed pattern requires micro chisels and a keen attention to detail, but our artisans’ dexterity always puts us at ease no matter how complex the design.
Stage 3: Block printing
After several trials and adjustments, the hand carved, wooden blocks are ready, and printing commences. At last, Anisha’s vision comes to life—in full color!
Here are two of our artisans at work, carefully stamping down each piece of Dahlia Daydreams onto the cotton panels by their trained eye. There is no industrial machinery here, nor any other fussy, modern tools, only the artisans’ years of experience and masterful grasp of the block printing technique.
Watching these craftsmen at work is a privilege, and we are always in awe of their attention to detail. Like with every Saffron Marigold print, each linen printing begins with the border. The larger linens in the Dahlia Daydreams collection (curtains, table cloths, and bedding) feature a double border design. A striped column envelops the second layer, a classic, seamless floral border. Smaller linens (cloth napkins, pillow covers) and linens with our coordinating print feature either the elegant, striped border or floral border only.
Every design production has its challenges. For instance, our Enchanted collection required 20 hand carved blocks to complete! The puzzle we have to solve for Dahlia Daydreams is how to fully capture the flowers’ full, rounded, three-dimensional aspect to make them appear as if they were bursting out of the fabric. To keep these beautiful, blushing pink flowers from looking flat and two-dimensional, Anisha and our skilled artisans spend nearly four days perfecting the wooden blocks so that, when printed, the shapes and colors give the illusion of a real, touchable pom pom dahlia.
The task is only made more complicated by the fact that each quill on the dahlia needs to be precise, symmetrical, and defined. The white highlights on each flower also need to be taken into account when carving the blocks by hand. Next in this complex puzzle is capturing the dahlias’ sun-drenched, brilliant pink tone. We use two shades of pink in creating Dahlia Daydreams to form these vibrant raspberry hued fields. With gray as the color of choice for the foliage and border accents, Dahlia Daydreams exudes elegance, opulence, and romance.
The finished product: the captivating Dahlia Daydreams print
Once the border, main print outline, and print colors are all reproduced on fabric, the linen is complete. To experience the wonderful process in motion (and all its challenges), we’ve composed a short video on the work that goes into making this resplendent design.