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One technique of block printing used often in almost every Brass Tacks collection is the mud-resist ( or “dabu”) block printing of Rajasthan. This technique allows for patterns to appear as translucent- showing off another pattern printed below it. Also in this method, several colours can be used on a fabric for various parts of a print.
In order to make the fabric absorb dyes, the fabric is first dipped into a mordant. In natural dyeing units, a natural mordant made from the seeds of the Chebulic myrobalan tree are used. After drying the fabric, the first stage of printing is done. Wooden blocks, carved by hand, are dipped into dyes and then printed on the fabric. The first stage of printing is sometimes done with chemical dyes, but originally done with natural dyes. To understand this process, let’s say the print was done in red with alizarine.
The second stage is printing a “dabu” resist onto the block. This resist is a mixture of river bed clay, slaked lime, tree gum and wheat powder. The resist covers the previously printed block so that when the entire fabric is dipped into another dye (for example Indigo) everything except the block gets coloured. Finally when the fabric is dried and washed, the pattern revealed is an indigo dyed fabric with prints in red.
More complication printing can be done with dyes mixed into the “dabu” mixture and printed on top of an existing print. The effect of this is a semi- translucent print through which you can see the underlying print.
Most printing done by hand does not permeate into the fabric fibres in the way that dyeing fabric does. For this reason, even if the hand block printing is done on mill made fabric and machine washed, the fabric should always be dried in the shade to avoid the sun’s bleaching effect.
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Here are a few quality, handcrafted and handloom products from rural India mostly made from natural materials- cotton, silk, wood and coloured with vegetable/fruit based dyes.
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Friday, June 17, 2011
at 8:08 AM Posted by Alankar