The majestic Amber Fort in Jaipur, India
The traditions of block printing in India reflect a glorious history of design
mirrored in her beautiful old buildings and their deep connection to the Earth.
Block Printing - Finishing
After printing with a variety of intricate blocks and instilling color with natural dyes, the finishing process of handmade block printing requires repeated washing and drying to remove excess dye, indigo and mud. This stage is usually accomplished in a series of washing troughs by dedicated villagers who wash and rinse the fabrics thoroughly; a process that also softens the fabric beautifully.
In Bagru, where water is relatively scarce, the local chippas use mostly mud resist ‘dabu’ techniques, natural dyes and indigo dyeing, the local water contributing to a more earthy tone in the finished fabric. Rich prints emerging from here come in tones of deep red, iron black and indigo, with highlights of greens and yellows. Traditional patterns can be organic or bold and geometric in design.
Fabric lengths are laid out on the ground for final drying, creating a patchwork of wonderful color and earthy design over a large area of the village landscape. When travelling to the village printing community, the sight of this expanse of hand printed beauty laid out under the Indian sun is awe inspiring!
Sanganeri block printed fabrics usually have a white background, assisted by the local Sanganer water and long exposure to the hot Rajasthani sun. This style was historically favoured as clothing and shawls by wealthy patrons, kings and courtiers, who favoured the delicate floral and butah designs, often printed onto fine muslin or silk, but these days used widely for clothing and décor.
During the entire creative weaving, printing and dyeing process the hands-on attention of the craftsmen and women instills a special energy into every individual piece of fabric. Handmade fabrics imbibe the subtle energy and vibrations of the land and create a connection to Mother Earth that you can feel when you wear them.