BLOCK PRINTING IN BAGRU, INDIA

While in Jaipur we discovered Jai Texart Factory in Bagru, a small town 30km outside of the city that has a reputation for its expertise in block printing with natural dyes. We did a two day course in which we learned about the natural dyes and where they came from and completed two scarves from start to finish. The whole process was beautifully meticulous and laborious, giving us a whole new appreciation for hand printed textiles.

Let's begin!

Step 1:
Washing the fabric to get rid of any impurities.

Step 2:
Mix up the mud resist! This was fun. Done by foot always.

Step 3: Chose your hand carved wood blocks to print with (probably the hardest part with the amazing collection consisting of thousands of different blocks!)

Learning about the beautiful indigo. Cultivated from Indigofera Tinctoria, the only blue plant in the world!

Incredible 16 foot deep indigo vat. The indigo in this vat can be reused for up to 6 years.

Step 4:
Laying down your mud resist! Ever so gently, with as much precision as you can. I held my breath every time I planted that block down.
The block printers at the factory did it so effortlessly and quickly it was astounding to watch them at work!

Step 5:
Laying down sawdust on your mud resist to help it dry and adhere to the fabric better.

Step 6:
Let dry completely in the sun!

Step 7:
Dunk several times in the vat!

Playing the waiting game...

Step 8 & 9:
Lay out fabric in the sun for as long as possible to let the dye do its magic. We left ours for 24 hours! Then wash out the mud and sawdust in water.

Finished!

The facilities and some of the beautiful, kindest people at work.

Onto colour!
The scarves are first dyed with harda powder, kind of like a natural primer but for fabric, as it helps to absorb the colour better. Hence the yellowish colour of the cotton.

The black dye is made from horseshoes that sit on coals for a period of time, brushed of rust then put in cans with water and sugar cane juice, left to ferment for periods of months.

All dry!

Boiling the scarves with Alizarin, a natural dye that makes the reds pop.

An amazing two days spent with the kindest people in the most beautiful factory set in the blissful Bagru countryside. If you ever find yourself in Jaipur, do yourself a favour and take this workshop! Best 2500 rupees we spent in India.