Artisans in the Indian state of Rajasthan are known for their beautiful hand block printed fabrics. But the printing process isn't the same for all of these designs.
In most cases, motifs are printed onto the fabrics using blocks which have been dipped in the colorful dyes. The result is often a darker design on a lighter background.
Another method, dabu printing, uses a mud resist. The dabu process usually produces a darker fabric.
We recently visited some of the dabu artisans who supply our products and took a few photos of their work in progress.
The dabu resist starts out as mud and is mixed with other ingredients to produce the resist paste.
Mixing The Resist Paste
Using wooden blocks, the mud mixture is printed onto white or lightly colored fabric. This design will be the lightest motif on the finished piece.
Printing Mud Resist Onto The Fabric
Dabu Resist Printed On Fabric
Dabu Resist Is Dried Before The Fabric Is Dyed
Dying the fabric will color the background but not the areas covered by the resist.
Cloth Being Dyed With Indigo
Newly Dyed Fabric Is Spread On The Ground To Dry
Indigo-Dyed Fabric Drying
After drying, the resist-then-dye process can be repeated, giving a layered effect to the design. In the following photo, the first resist's design was the white flowers. Then the fabric was dyed blue. The second resist—the stripes and zig-zag lines—was applied, and the fabric was again placed into the blue dye to achieve an even darker color for the background.
After the final dying, the resist is washed away. Indigo fabrics are frequently dyed using the dabu process.
A Finished Piece Dyed With Natural Indigo
Pomegranate skins produce a yellow dye. This is often used as the lightest color in a dabu fabric.
A Dye Vat With Pomegranate Skins For Yellow Color
Fabric Dyed Light Yellow Prior To Application Of The Resist