It’s pouring down rain in Jaipur with incredible lightning strikes accompanied by thunder which shakes the windows. But that gives Katey some time to share what she’s seen in the last day.
She started the day with a visit to a village just outside of Jaipur called Bagru. This village is known for their mud printing. Katey learned all about the process of block printing from the fabric selection, the dyes, the blocks, the printing of the fabric, etc. She was able to watch the printing, how the mud is applied to create the different colors patterns, and how the indigo dye is applied and processed.
The natural dyes are applied to the fabric with hand-carved wooden blocks. Multicolored patterns are created by having sets of interlocking blocks and applying each color one at a time, with time to dry in between. The colors are often different when first applied and once they are processed in a hot water bath. Once the color has been applied, the fabric is allowed to dry in the sun. With the mud print, the design is applied to the fabric with mud. Once the mud is dry, the fabric is dunked into vats of dye, then set out to dry. Once the fabric is dry, the mud is washed off to reveal the lighter color beneath.
The indigo vats are 10 meters deep, and are cleaned once a year. The resulting sludge from the annual cleanings are in demand by local farmers as it is used as fertilizer. When the fabric is first pulled from the indigo vats, it’s green! It turns the signature deep blue as it dries in the sun.
The block printing and mud printing takes days from start to finish, and requires a fairly large space if done in the same location. But, as the cows watched, the expert artisans were happy to show Katey their craft. Katey picked out some beautiful fabric for which she has some exciting designs in mind! Keep an eye out to see the results of her shopping!