Are you in love with that floral and leaves motifs? Do you want to know from where they originated?? So we got to tell you….
32 kilometers east of Jaipur city is a small village called Bagru, where there is a hum of activity in the field of hand block printing on textiles, using traditionally patterned blocks, and rich natural colours. The main colours of Bagru prints are Red and Black. The printed fabric can be dyed in different colour variations as per requirement.
Bagru printing process goes through a series of interesting steps before it reaches you.
Initially, fabric, usually, cotton is cut into required size and then pre washed and soaked for at least 24 hours to remove starch and dust out of it. The fabric is then dyed in the ‘Harda’ solution, which allows dye to adhere to the fabric. The yellow died fabric is then dried under ample sunshine so that it develops a yellowish beige color making the fabric ready for the printing. The fabric is finally moved to long padded printing tables and printing is always done from left to right. The printer gently taps the wooden block in the tray of dyed colors and then carefully applied to the fabric ensuring its uniform distribution. The process is repeated again and again with rehk(fine outlines), daata(inside filling) and gadh block (background). After the printing is completed, the fabric is allowed to dry for at least 2-3 days before it can be rinsed. Then the printed fabric is boiled and stirred in a copper pot to get rid of dirt present in the fabric.
The block printing is manual process and blocks impression prints in repeated form expects little different placement of next block, which is the main beauty of Bagru Hand Block Printing that contributes to the natural elegance of the piece.
For the purpose of creating motifs printers use various natural objects like neem leaves, rose petals, chili, and dhaniya ki bel (coriander sprig). These motifs have changed over the time. Traditionally, ‘Bagru Motifs’ are bolder and more geometrical in nature. Bagru prints are used for making kurtas, shirts, quilts, bed sheets etc.
As a matter of fact, ‘Bagru prints are famous for being environment friendly. Even, today artisans use vegetable dyes like pomegranate for red color, turmeric for yellow and so on. Bagru print I s acclaimed all over India.
Hand block printing has seen a major revival over the past two decades. It is craft that has been handed down generations but with the propensity towards industry, traditional printers are fewer in number.
India is today in the fashion forefront in the world. Foreign buyers have been greatly attracted by traditional hand printed textiles, the export trade has been so consistent that traditional printers are kept busy even today and hand block printing has extended itself to non-traditional centres like Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Bangalore.
Now the next time you are visiting Rajasthan, make sure to add Bagru in your itinerary to acknowledge the centuries old tradition of real printing process and also to observe ‘behind the scenes’ of hand block printing.