Bagru, a village in Rajasthan, is famous for its unique century-old Bagru Prints. Bagru Prints are known for their unique use of Natural Dyes and Hand Block Printing.
How it is done
Wooden Hand Blocks are blocks of wood with holding grips on one side and a flat smooth surface or pressing side with design engraved on it on the other. Designs engraved are transferred to the fabric by filling colours in the etched cavities and giving a sharp hit to the pressed block on the cloth.
From the entire quantity of cotton cloth desired sizes for colouring are cut. This is based on the nature of the fabric; saree, bedspread, dupatta or whatever, according to the individual measurements provided and in the numbers specified. The two-fold process of dyeing and block printing then begins. The fabric is pre-washed and soaked for several hours together to allow for dirt, oil and other contaminants to separate out. The smearing of the fabric or cloth to be dyed, is with Fuller’s Earth, brought from the riverside. It is then dipped in turmeric water. Fuller’s Earth washed away imparts a creamish colour to the fabric. Then it is soaked in the solution of Harda or fruit of the myrobalan plant and dried in the sun which gives it a yellowish cream hue. This is a unique feature of Bagru Prints and the process is instrumental for the colour fastness of the Print dyes that would be applied.
The Block printing and final process
The fabric is then printed with natural dyes or colorants which are derived from plants and animals. Different blocks with different colours are used for the different parts of the overall design. Since a majority of the natural dyes are from plants, Bagru Prints are also referred to as ‘eco-friendly’ prints. The primary colours are available from the following substances. Blue is available from Indigo, with desired shade got from increasing the concentration or diluting it. Green is available through indigo mixed with pomegranate. Red is through the Madder Root, while yellow is from turmeric. After the fabric is completely block printed it is dried and later put in vats of boiling water containing alum and other agents. The solution with fabric in it is constantly stirred to prevent sticking to any portion of the vessel. The process is complete with the fabric being washed again to remove excess colour and any other sticking impurities.
The application of Bagru Prints
Hand Block Printing using natural colours is done mostly on fabrics such as sarees, quilts, bed covers, though pillow covers, turbans and other smaller items of cloth are also taken up. Themes are generally floral prints, geometrical shapes etc. Bagru prints are done on off-white, ivory white or beige background sarees. Motifs of circular designs, flowers, fruits, birds create allure on fabrics like crepe, georgette, chiffon, silk, cotton. Exotic Bagru prints are quite popular on south handloom cotton saris woven with zari borders.
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Website : www.unnatisilks.com