Block prints like Ajrakh, Bagh, Bagru, Sanganeri, Dabu, Kalamkari or tie and dye and resist methods like bandhni and batik are some forms of textile art that inscribe beautiful stories through colorful floral and abstract motif and geometrical shapes. Block printing on fabrics like cotton, silk, woolen or linen is a highly skilled process done manually, step by step, with incised wooden blocks.Its an art form practiced by families for generations, using natural dyes and mordants.
The process may be slow and painstaking but that's what gives it the eternal artistic value, simply un-achievable by any other method. Most block printing is directly done on the cloth, however, some techniques require the cloth to be pre-dyed.
The Perfectly imperfect craft
Dabu Printing is an ancient hand block printing technique from the land of Rajasthan. This printing is purely labor intensive and involves several steps and stages of printing and dyeing. The Dabu printing fabrics have theor own charm and extraordinary beauty which is appreciated around the world. The printing process begins with the collection and storage of mud from local pond, prior to its usage the mud is wet and sieved until it becomes a fine paste.
It is then mixed with lime, gum either fenugreek of alum and Jagger. The fabric to be printed is washed thoroughly to remove all starch and then dried. The entire yardage is treated with organic dyes and then dried again. The resist printing is executed by applying a wood block dipped in Dabu paste on treated cloth, the fabric is then dyed, depending on the design the fabric either undergoes a second round of resist printing or washing which removes the mud paste. The final dyeing stage imparts colour to the previously resisted areas. Then this beautiful handicraft is made.
The art of Dabu printing
Indigo is the oldest natural dye known to mankind, it can be used to dye any kind of fiber and it is a vital constituent to attain greens, purples and blacks; a universal and versatile dye. out of the three primary colours, red and yellow being easily extractable from flora and fauna are found all around the globe. Blue, the third primary colour could only be generated from indigo.
Hence, blue was known to be the rearest and the most regal colour. The process of extracting blue colour from green leaves of indigo plant is magical and unique. It involves various steps, to be carried out with great timing.