Sanganer is situated about 8 kilometers south-east of Jaipur city. Prior to the 17th century, there is no mention of Sanganer as a centre of printing. At that time Sanganer was known as a centre of plain and dyed clothes. It was probably towards the end of the 17th century that this art form developed here. Probably due to war with Emperor Auranngzeb and the repeated invasions of the Marathas, many craftsmen (Printers) from the neighbouring state Gujarat came and settled in Rajasthan. By the end of the 18th century this industry was fully developed in Sanganer. There are at present, about 125 hand block printing units in Sanganer. Sanganer was renowned for its small decorative and delicate floral patterns, called, ‘boota-booties’ which was printed on fine cotton and silk.The dyers and block makers came from Sindh and Punjab and settled here.The printers belong to chhipa community. They are all Hindus and are followers of the renowned Marathi Saint Namdev. Almost every member of the ‘Chippa’ family is involved in the washing, dyeing and printing of clothes. While, the printers are predominantly Hindus, majority of dyers and block makers are Muslims.
Water of the Saraswati River that used to flow graciously through Sanganer, was known for its special quality that used to bring out radiance from the natural dyed fabric. This was major source of inspiration for the printing community.
In olden days, the fabric was printed mainly for use of royal families and rich traders but now it is used as part of clothing for urban families and also exported. The principal items printed here include sarees, dupattas, salwar-kameez, bed cover, curtains, scarves, and printed yardages (running cloth material), etc. Both local and imported cloth material are used. At present,’ mulmul’ (cotton voile), ‘latha’ (sheeting fabrics) and cambric etc. are sourced from Jaipur.
On Sanganeri ‘chintz’ (printed cloth) usually, yellow, green blue (with different tones) are used as the background. These days one rarely comes across the variety of shades that were found in the old Sanganeri ‘chintz’, but still the ‘chhipas’ for sanganer have the incomparable know-how of matching the back ground on base colour with colours of the prints.
Motifs of Sanganeri Printing
Finesse in flowers-petal designs, curves and delicacy are the prime specialties of Sanganer prints. The curvature of flowers in the’bootas’ is generally shown on the right side. Different types of flowers and plants are displayed in the form of ‘bel’ (a border) and ‘boota’ very naturally and in a really attractive manner.
Some of the flowers used in the prints are roses, rosettes, lotuses, lotus bud, sunflower, lily, ‘champa’ ‘canna’ ‘nergis’, marigold etc. Various other flower creations are also found in old Sanganeri prints. Other flowers used are locally known as ‘sosan’, ‘gainda’, ‘gulmehendi’, ‘javakusum’, ‘guldaudi’, ‘kachnar’, ‘jatadari lily’, ‘kaner’, ‘kanna’, ‘gullalla’, etc. ‘Sosan’ and ‘gullala’ prints are probably very suitable to sanganeri prints, therefore they are used in various forms.
In ‘booties’, generally, only one type of flower-petal and bud creations in the following forms : ‘badam, (almond)’, ‘paan’ (beetle leaf), ‘mukut of ‘kalanga’, While printing a saree, if the ‘booti’ is of ‘sosan’ flower or plant the ‘bel’ will also be of ‘sosan’ flower and the big’boota’ to be done on the ‘pallu’ (the end part of a saree) will also be of ‘sosan’ flower decoration. Hence, for printing one sari, a large number of blocks need to be made. In some ‘booties’ one finds a collection of more than one flower in the same product. Sometimes two different blocks of two different ‘booties’ are printed together to form a third type of ‘booti’ e.g. ‘Singhbal booti’. By printing different booties together, the Sanganeri ‘chhipas’ have portrayed excellent know how. Sometimes more than three flowers are fitted beautifully in a single ‘booti’ e.g. in ‘Latkan booti’ banana tree, sosan tree and saro tree collection in assembled beautifully in one pattern.Different ‘boota’ booti, and ‘bel’ have been named by the ‘chhipas’ according to their shape find according to the flowers and fruits used in those. These were very appropriate and interesting.
Many flowers used in Sanganeri prints are not found in Rajasthan, and whichever the craftsmen of Rajasthan have never seen. On this basis, Historian James watt has said, “Obviously many of the Sanganeri designs portray flowers that in not likely to have been seen by the calico printers nor by the block engravers of Rajputana. Inspite of these circumstances, however, there seems every reason to believe that the craft has been handed down for centuries and has come to use in all the purity of original inspiration. The nature, feeling and colour reciprocity, as also the technique in printing are all perfect while the absence of machine regularity gives a charm that place these goods above and beyond anything as yet accomplished in Europe.” Apart from flowers, fruit trees of banana, dates, grapes pomegranate etc. have also been recreated in a very attractive manner. In some old prints figures of parrots and fish are also seen. Since about fifty years, elephant. Horse, camel, peacock and human figures are also used. These are mostly seen on curtains, bed-covers, table clothes etc. The doo-rookhi style of printing is also popular in Sanganer. This is printing done on both sides of the fabric.
Jaipur is perhaps one of the most culturally rich areas of Rajasthan. From this city, the Chippas moved to Bagru around 300 years ago. They made it their home, and one of Rajasthan's most important centers of hand block printing .The Sanganer and Bagru prints are very similar, but the latter employ a narrower range of colors. Moreover, unlike the Sanganer prints which are always on a white or off-white background, the prints of Bagru are mostly red and black and blue.
The Syahi-Begar prints are a combination of black and yellow ochre or cream. The Dabu prints are created by hiding them from dye, by applying a resist. Bagru prints are characterized by circular designs, as well as linear and floral patterns.In both the Sanganer and Bagru prints, the colors are picked carefully. Each has a separate significance. For instance, red is the color of love, yellow of spring, indigo of Lord Krishna, and saffron of the yogi (seer). The wooden blocks that are used are made of teak wood. And traditionally, vegetable dyes made of madder, pomegranate rind, indigo, and turmeric are used. These have now been largely replaced by chemical dyes. Often, the fabric is dyed before it is printed.
Bagru, a small village town in Rajasthan is situated at a distance of 32ksm east of Jaipur. It is known for its traditional processed of hand block printing of textile. The ‘chhipas’ of Bagru have assembled here from Sawai Madhopur, Alwar, Junjjhunu and Sikar districts of Rajsthan to settle in Bagru and make it their home some 300 years ago.
Bagru is derived from the word’ Bagora’ the name of an island in a lake where the city was originally built and is famous for its palm fan and ‘chintz’ (fadat) production pattern. The traditional ‘motifs’ of Bagru have however under gone change over the years. The entire population of ‘chhipas’ which were earlier engaged in production of all local varieties of printed fabrics mostly of ‘fadats,indigo fabric’, ‘angochha’ (small towel), ‘bichhauni’ (bed spread), rajai (quilt) etc. are now engaged in production of sophisticated ‘ kaftans’, ‘wraparounds’ (skirts), ‘midis’ etc.All the same, basic techniques and colours have remained unchanged and unaffected through these centuries, This makes the Bagru prints spectacularly different, distinctive and highly specialized.
The local people, particularly the women folk, mainly used the Bagru prints in the past. Patterns in rich colours like the indigo blue, alizarin, iron block and bright yellow were produced on coarse cotton cloth by indigenous processed of dyeing and printing. In building up patterns, geometrical forms were adopted along with floral, animal and bird forms. Everything seemed to be inspired from local sources. (Synthetic dyed have now replaced some natural dyes but their ‘resists *, and their application and processed and their sequences have hardly under gone any change. The styles and motifs have been adapted to some extent to the changing market pattern.
The Chippas community settled along the riverside, like any other nomadic settlement. The bank of the river provided then with clay which is an important ingredient in getting the base color of the famed Bagru prints. The artisans smear the cloth with Fuller’s earth got from the riverside and then dip it in turmeric water to get the beige colored background. After that, they stamp the cloth with beautiful designs using natural dyes of earthly shades.
Eco Friendly Colors used in Bagru Hand Block Printing
Bagru prints are done on off-white, ivory white, or beige background. The main colors used in Bagru printing are black, red and maroon. These three main colors are extracted from naturally occurring sources: black is derived from worn-out iron horse or camel shoes soaked in water, red comes from gum paste and phitkari, and maroon is a result of mixing the above two colors.
Apart from these base colors, natural vegetable dyes are used to add colorful patters and designs. These include madder, indigo, pomegranate rind, turmeric, etc. Pigment colors such as green, rust, blue, violet, brown, and pink are added to appease wider markets. There is also a traditional reason for picking a particular color in the designs, such as indigo for Lord Krishna, saffron for a saint or yogi, yellow for spring season, etc.
Difference between Sanganeri and Bagru styles
The main distinguishing feature between Sanganer and Bagru printing is that Sanganer print is usually done on a white ground, whereas Bagru prints are on an Indigo or a dyed background. Local water also has its effects. In Sanganer water, block comes out in its best dark shade, while at Bagru block comes with a reddish tinge. As water has always been abundant in Sanganer, the washing of cloth has formed the main basis of printing and dyeing there. In contrast at Bagru, where water in comparatively scarce, ‘Dhabu’ resist printing and indigo work is mostly done. Difference in motifs
Traditionally, motifs printed at Bagru are large with bold line, as compared to sanganer, where somber colours and fine lines, intricate detailing are practiced. Sanganeri motifs are naturalistically rendered, with motifs usually based on flowers i.e. iris, rose, poppy, marigold, sunflower, chrysanthemum etc. Bagru motifs are more geometric than the sanganeri motifs.
The patterns or designs/motifs which are traditionally made in Rajasthan can be classified as ‘boota’, bootie’ and ‘jal’.
‘Boota’: ‘Boota’ is normally referred to as design which is single and complete in itself. The word ‘boota’ is derived from the Persian word ‘Butteh’ which means complete tree. ‘Bootas’ depict the flora and fauna of the region and sometimes birds are also seen. Since it is a single unit the spacing between the two impressions can be varied normally a ‘boota’ is not bigger than 3”x5”.
‘Booti’: ‘Booti’ is a smaller form of ‘boota’ and the spacing between one ‘booti’ and another is predetermined. There could be up to 20 booties on one block *, depending on the size and space, Like ‘boota’ most of the ‘booties’ depict the flora and fauna and birds of the area. Sometimes the geometric forms like dots, circles, squares and lines are also used. Sanganeri ‘booties’ are classic, decorative delicate, refined and exquisite, which were basically used for royal families of Jaipur for clothing, whereas booties from Bagru are slightly folk.
‘Jaal’: ‘Jaal’ is pattern, which gives continuous interconnection surface. ‘Jaals’ were not very popular in Sanganeri prints but other centres have ‘Jaal;’ Patterns which are floral, paisley (‘keri’) and geometric. Narrow borders of 2”-4” width are also used in all the centers. The designs are similar to ‘booties’ in form and decoration.
Motifs of Bagru
The histories of development of motifs of Bagru are obscure. These are mostly derived form the flora and fauna and are natural in origin. A Comparative study of evolution and layout of motifs clearly reveal a change from old tradition and style. Initially the prints were primarily floral and vegetative. After the Persian influence they became more geometrical, for example a central round and motifs around it.
The motifs of Bagru may be classified into five types:
1. Motifs of flowers and birds : In this stem in the central motif. It balances a floral arrangement on it, usually used as sprays.
2. Motifs inter-twisted tendrils: These are motifs of flowers comprising of spiraling or inter-twisted stems, the flowers leaves and birds. Theses are used as ‘bels’.
3. Motifs of trellis designs: These are mainly the ‘jals’ intricate grid (connecting designs), which were formulated under the Persian influence.
4. Motifs of figurative designs: These are animal, bird and human motifs, e.g., ‘hiran’ (deer), mayur’ (peacock), ‘sua’ (parrot).
1. Motifs of geometrical designs: These are geometrical in shapes, e.g. ‘lehariya’ (wave), ‘chapad’ (check), ‘kanguras’ (triangular), ‘chatais’ (weaved) pattern etc
Traditional Printing process in Sanganer and Bagru
The traditional printing process in sanganer and Bagru can be descried as follows:
1. Scouring- locally called ‘Hari Sarana’
The fabric that comes from mills of handloom sector contains natural and added impurities such as starch, oil and dust. To get goods and even penetration of colours, the fabric is boiled with soap and desizing agents. Traditionally cow dung was used for scouring. Cow dung contains a lot of alkali, Cow dung and water are mixed together and the cloth (running cloth ‘than’cut in required length) is then left dipped in that paste overnight. The process of washing is a long one, generally carried out by the ladies. The next day, the clothes are washed and spread on large open grounds. Before the clothes dry completely, more water is sprinkled on them and thus they are made wet again. This process of sprinkling water and drying is repeated 5-6 times a day. This procedure is carried out unit the cloth becomes white and bright. Generally, as per requirement, this process in done for 3 to 6 days. After this the cloth is washed with pure water. Since it is tedious and time consuming, soaps have replaced the cow dung in this process.
1. Tannin- locally called ‘Peela Karana’ of ‘Harda’
Washed fabric is treated with myrobalan (harda) which contains tannic acid. Tannic acid attracts the mordants, which are applied with hand woodblock. ‘Harda’ powder is mixed with water, and the cloth is submerged in it, squeezed and dried flat on the ground. Once the fabric is dried, it is folded and beaten with a wooden mallet to remove excess ‘harda’ powder and open up the fiber to accept the dye. This process in known as ‘peela karna’. The tannic acid of myrobalam (harda) forms black colour with ferrous ( syahee )which is traditionally made by reaction of old rusted horse shoe nails with jaggery.
(iii) Printing (mordanting)- locally called ‘chapai’
The fabric is printed with two mordant- ferrous (‘syahee’) made out of rusted horse shoe nails, and alum (‘begar’). Usually ferrous is printed with the outline block (‘rekh’). As it immediately shows a black impression, it is easy for another printer to place the filler block (‘datta’) with beggar or alum. The background block (Gudh’) comes later.(
1. Ageing-locally called ‘Sukhai’
The printed fabric is left hanging at the printing areas for at lest three-four days so that the prints(mordant paste) penetrates into the fiber structure. Longer the ageing better is the result.
1. Washing- locally called ‘Dhulai’
The printed fabric is washed in running water. It is important to understand the need of running/flowing water. While washing the printed fabric in running water the excess mordants come out and get washed away with the flow of water without getting stuck back to the cloth. Water shortage has forced the printers to cut short this process due to which, the colours do not get fixed up properly and later “bleed” and people think that natural dyes are not fast.
1. Dyeing (fixing of colour) – locally called ‘Ghan Rangai’
Dyeing is a process in which the dye reacts with two mordants at two different locations on the same print giving two different shades of colours. As mentioned earlier ‘alizarin’ is used as the dye throughout Rajasthan. The colours obtained in conjunction with the two mordants are red (with alum) and block (with ferrous). Dyeing is carried out in large copper vessels (‘tambri’) which are heated by wood fire. Alizarin is filled in small cloth-bags (‘potali’) and dipped in the vessel. The quantity of alizarin dye is calculated by the experienced dyer. ‘Dhawadi phool’, a local flower is boiled along with alizarin to avoid patches and staining. Once the dyed fabric is ready (usually it takes half-an-hour), it is taken out of the copper vessel and left on the ground for drying.
1. Sun-bleaching- locally called ‘Tapai’
Alizarin often”over dyes” the unprinted area giving an off-white or yellow tinge all over the fabric which makes the print look dull. In order to make the ground look ‘white’ again the fabric is sun-bleached. In this process the fabric is laid flat on a river bed, a mild solution of cow dung and water is sprinkled over the fabric. This process is repeated again when the fabric is dried. The interaction of alkali (of cow dung) and thermal heat (sun ray) bleach the ground colour making it look white again. Sometimes this process in carried out before the tannin (‘harda’) treatment but due to shortage of water this process is cut short and these days the ‘off- white’ colour of the background has become a part of natural dyeing process.
1. Resist printing – locally called ‘Dhabu datai’
The special resist paste (clay-lime-gum-insect eaten wheat mixture) technique, a specialty of traditional printing of Rajasthan, is commonly known as ‘dhabu’. Dhabu’ acts as mechanical resist and prevents the penetration of dye during dyeing on areas covered with ‘dhabu’. This technique is used only for creating patterns with indigo blue. Since the resist paste ‘dhabu’ is thick and sticky no sharp definitions are achieved. It is applied with wooden block on the fabric and saw dust is sprinkled over it. Saw dust has two major functions at this stage-first to absorb water from the Dhabu paste and give additional layers of resist. After printing, the fabric is left outside in the sun for drying before dipping in indigo tanks. Small printing table- “patias” are used for dhabu printing and the printer applies dhabu sitting on the floor. It is done mostly by women and old printers, who cannot stand for a long time. The art of making ‘dhabu’paste is kept secret and the recipe is taught only to daughters-in-law. Every family has its own recipe to make the paste.
(viii) Indigo dyeing – locally called ‘Neel rangai’
It is the most interesting process of colouring the fabric blue. Indigo dyeing is done throughout Rajasthan. The process to start a new indigo tank is tedious and complicated but once the vat is ready for use, it is kept ‘alive’ by constant addition of indigo lime and jaggery. An expert indigo dyer can tell the state of dye by the colour of the vat. He adds the exact quantity of every ingredient required, having learnt it by experience. There is no written recipe with the indigo dyer and every family has its own way of handling indigo. The printed cloth is folded neatly like saree pleats and lowered gently into the indigo tank. When the cloth is totally submerged in the tank, the dyer still holding in under the liquid dye, opens each pleat to allow the fabric to have the indigo dye evenly. Since indigo does not react in the presence of air, any air trapped in the folds or pleats will give “patchy” dyeing. An experienced dyer will always unfold the pleats neatly and gently to avoid cracking of ‘Dhabu’. The fabric is then taken out of tank, gently squeezed and opened out to react with the atmospheric oxygen and turn the reduced indigo into oxidized indigo. Indigo has poor affinity to the fabric in the presence of water, so the first “dip” gives a pale sky blue shade. In order to get darker indigo blue, the fabric is again dipped in the tank, pulled out and oxidized. This process is repeated till the desired dark shade is achieved. The fabric is finally dried flat on the ground. Care is taken that while dyeing or drying, ‘dhabu’ does not get broken or cracked, and in ‘dhabu’ printing the crack effect is not considered good quality printing.
For turning the fabric green it is taken for further process of yellow dyeing but before this it is printed with dhabu to retain some blue areas.
1. Yellow dyeing- locally called ‘Haldi naspal putai’
The fabric is again printed with dhabu and taken out in an open area. Four persons hold it at each corner and fifth person dips a loose-woven woolen fabric fabric which acts as a sponge in the dye extracted out of haldi (turmeric) and naspal (pomegranate rinds) and rubs it gently all over the cloth to be dyed. The application of the yellow dye is like mopping the floor but it done gently so that the ‘dhabu’ does not come off. The idea of using loose woven fabric in the process of dyeing is to retain enough dye while applying it. Once the fabric is dyed evenly, it is taken for post mordanting or fixing of yellow dye.
1. Post mordanting with alum- locally known as ‘Fitkari Rangai’
The dye extracted from turmeric and pomegranate peals is very fugitive and in order to make is fast, post mordanting is done with alum (fitkari). In this process the fabric is dipped in a big copper vessel filled with water and diluted alum. After leaving it of a few minutes (long period of time will cause the dhabu to come off) it is taken out, gently squeezed and dried flat on the ground. When it is completely dry it is folded and stored in dark places of at least 3 to 4 days so that the yellow dye sets in. Finally it is taken out for washing.
1. Washing – locally called ‘Dhulai’
Washing of the fabric is done in order to take out resist paste and excess or unattached dye from the surface. In this process the fabric is left in big tanks for at lest 3 to 4 hours till the resist paste becomes smooth. The fabric is then beaten over a flat stone slab to remove the resist paste and excess dye. The beating of the cloth is generally done where there is a flow of water.
The craft of block making came to Rajasthan along with printers from Sind-Punjab. Most of the block makers in Rajasthan are Muslims. The basic carving tools are made by block makers themselves form iron rods, bicycle spokes etc. The ‘design” is first drawn on paper and stretched out on smooth surface of wood. The motif or design is then pierced through the needles so that the “impression” is transferred on the smooth surface of wood, later the unwanted areas are carved out.
Iron nails and woolen-felt are also used to improve the quality of impression. Wooden block can be classified in three types viz ‘Rekh’- the outline block, “gudh”- the background block, and “Datta’- the filling block.
‘Rekh’: The key outline block (from the Hindi word “ rekha” which means line) defines the form of pattern. Normally rekh in considered the “key block” which gets printed first in order to give ‘clue’ to other block to fit in. In some cases rekh is split into two blocks in order to print two colours. This kind of block is known as ‘chirai’ (splitting) block.
‘Gudh’: The block which covers the background of patterns in called gudh. Gudh is sometimes treated as the key block and printed first.
‘Datta’: All blocks other than over above mentioned two become ‘dattas’ or filling blocks.
The handle: Once the block is carved, a handle, usually of cheaper wood, is nailed to the block to help the printer in registering the impression with the block comfortable. The handle is a very important part of block making, as it is this part which helps to trace the family who carved the block. One has only to look at the handle to identify the block maker as each family uses special effect in block handle. Some carve the handle out of the same piece of wood on which the design is carved and some shape the handle in a peculiar way.
The wood: Seesam, a kind of India teak is used for making blocks. Since it is tough wood the outline block which wears out most are made out of it. ‘Roahda’ and ‘Gurjan’ which are softer and lighter wood are used for making the rest of the blocks including mud resist blocks which generally need deep carving and light weight
Traditionally printing tables were of 2 feet wide and 3 feet in length and 1foot high above the ground. These are known as‘patias’. Now-a-days bigger table 5 feet wide, 6 meters long and 4 feet high are used for faster production. Women and old printers prefer the traditional ‘patia’ for printing. The printing table are covered with 22 to 26 layers of Hessian cloth and finally covered with three-four layers of old fabric known as ‘acharas’. These ‘acharas’ are changed every time a fresh cloth is laid for printing. For better quality of workmanship the printers to have two separate tables for printing black and red colours.
Technological advancement – The present Story
Sanganer now is part of greater Jaipur. The River Saraswati is dried up completely and now waste water of the city flows through it. The main resource of water is the ground water which is also receding at alarming rate. Most of the printer’s families have converted their homes into small printing units where printers from Sanganer and nearby villages come and print fabrics. The transition from the traditional dyes to the modern chemical dyes four to five decades back forced the traditional dyers /printers to adapt the new technology with hit and trial method. Most of the printer’s families were uneducated and the dye manufacturing companies too were more interested in selling the products. Though the chemical dyes were manufactured for the organized textile sector, the cottage industries adapted them without much technical know how. At present the following dyes are been used at the printing units in Sanganer.
1. Discharge Style:
In this style, dyed ground is removed leaving white or coloured patterns on the original ground by using a various types of reducing agents. Following ground shades are commonly used for getting white and coloured patterns.
1. Direct dyed ground
2. azoic dyed ground
3. reactive dyed ground
4. Aniline black ground
5. Indigo sol ground
These all are only for cotton material Rangolite-c is used as reducing agents Rangolite-c is complex compound of formaldehyde and sodium hydro sulphite.
Chemically it is a sodium sulphenate of formaldehyde, chemically it is sodium. Sncl2 is also used as reducing agent for printing.
2. Pigment Style:
Pigments are the organic or inorganic substances insoluble in water and have no affinity for any textile materials. However they are fixed by using a synthetic binder which binds the coloured pigments and form a transparent thin film over the fabric. Thus pigment molecules are bound between the binder film and textiles. The rubbing fastness property depends upon the types of binder catalyst used.
3. IndigoSol & Rapids
These classes of soluble vat colours are the best in all round fastness properties. These dyes can be easily mixed with azoic (rapid) dyes and give complete range of colours.
4. Other Styles
1. Metal printing: Metallic powder is applied to produce a design in gold silver etc. they are printed with synthetic binders such as binder SLN.
2. Khadi Printing: Production of Khadi effect can be brought about by using Titanium dioxide and printing powder.
3. Batik printing: Various designs can be produced first with the molten wax which is the main mechanical resist after the wax become hard. The whole cloth is crumbed to produce crushed effect on the wax portion. The cloth is dyed with indigo sol vat or azoic colours. The wax is removed by boiling, though this is a very lengthy process but excellent marble effect of various hues can be obtained which is not possible by any methods of printing.
(d) Printing direct dyes on cotton and other synthetic rayon’s. These dyes come up much faster on viscose then cotton due to its higher swelling property. To prevent bleeding during washing of direct printed goods after steaming dye fixing agent is applied before the after wash so that the dye which is taken up by the fibers is bound by the dye fixing agent which of the opposite ionic nature. The use of cationic dye fixing agent not only or minimize the bleeding but also prevents the ground getting stained by the unfixed dye.
Difference between Dabu printing and Bagru Printing
Dabu printing is also a unique art form found alongside Bagru prints. In this, a design is sketched onto the background cloth. This sketched design is covered with clay on which saw dust is sprinkled. The saw dust sticks to the cloth as the clay dries. Thereafter, the entire cloth is dyed in select colors. The area where clay and sawdust mixture is present does not catch the dye and remains colorless. After dyeing and drying, the cloth is washed to remove the clay and the mixture. For additional color, this cloth is dyed again in a lighter shade to cover the patterned area. This unique form of printing is also environmentally non-toxic and uses no harmful or synthetic dyes.
Kalamkari (Telugu: కలంకారి) or Qalamkari is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, produced in parts of India. The word is derived from the Persian words kalam (pen) andkari (craftmanship), meaning drawing with a pen.
a. The craft made at Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh, evolved with patronage of the Mughals and the Golconda sultanate.
b. There are two distinctive styles of kalamkari art in India - one, the Srikalahasti style and the other, the Machalipatnam style of art. The Srikalahasti style of Kalamkari, wherein the "kalam" or pen is used for free hand drawing of the subject and filling in the colours, is entirely hand worked. This style flowered around temples and their patronage and so had an almost religious identity - scrolls, temple hangings, chariot banners and the like, depicted deities and scenes taken from the great hindu epics - Ramayana. Mahabharata, Puranas and the mythological classics. This style owes its present status to Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhayay who popularised the art as the first Chairperson of the All India Handicrafts Board. Only natural dyes are used in Kalamkari and it involves seventeen painstaking step
Kalamkari craft is very old. This art knew its apogee in the wealthy Golconda sultanate, Hyderabad, in the middle ages.
Kalamkari art has been practised by many families in Andhra Pradesh and has constituted their livelihood.
In ancient times, groups of singers, musicians and painters, called chitrakattis, moved village to village to tell the village dwellers, the great stories of Hindu mythology. Progressively, during the course of history, they illustrated their accounts using large bolts of canvas painted on the spot with rudimentary means and dyes extracted from plants. The first Kalamkari had been born. In the same way, one found in the Hindu temples large panels of Kalamkari depicting the episodes of Indian mythology, akin to the stained glasses of the Christian cathedrals.
Kalamkari had a certain decline, then it was revived in India and abroad for its craftsmanship. Since the 18th century the British liked the decorative element for clothing
The cotton fabric gets its glossiness by immersing it for an hour in a mixture of myrabalam (resin) and cow milk. Contours and reasons are then drawn with a point in bamboo soaked in a mixture of jagri fermented and water; one by one these are applied, then the vegetable dyes. After applying each color, the Kalamkari is washed. Thus, each fabric can undergo up to 20 washings. Various effects are obtained by using cow dung, seeds, plants and crushed flowers.
Methods for scouring and bleaching of gada cloth vary. Some artists simply immerse gada cloth in cool water over night then beat the wet cloth to remove further impurities.
-Gada cotton fabric is scoured by immersing it overnight in a sheep dung/water solution (1 lump of dung for 10 liters of water).
-The cloth is exposed to the sun for a day by spreading it on the banks of the river.
-Water is continually sprinkled on the cloth to prevent it from drying.
-In the evening the cloth is washed by folding it and slapping it against a washing stone, followed by rinsing in the flowing river.
-The cloth is then re-immersed in a freshly prepared sheep dung solution and the process is repeated.
-On the second day the sprinkling is stopped in the late evening to allow the cloth to dry.
GADA CLOTH & MYROBALAM SOLUTION
The first step in making a kalamkari painting is the treatment of gada, or unbleached cotton cloth in kaccha or myrobalam and buffalo milk solution. A desired size of gada cloth is scoured and bleached before it is treated with the myrobalam/ milk solution. A paste of powdered myrobalam fruit (karakkai, T. chebula) is mixed in fresh, unheated buffalo milk. For about 6 meters of cloth, 200 grams of myrobalam powder and about 2 liters of milk is needed. This solution is kept for 1 hour to extract tannic acid from the seeds. The cloth is then soaked in the myrobalam solution for 15 minutes, taking care to see that the entire length of cloth is sufficiently saturated. The cloth takes on a light yellow color. It is then squeezed/twisted to remove excess solution, and dried in the sun on a sandy riverbank for approximately 1 hour. The cloth is folded and can be stored in a cool dry place for up to 3 months. The high fat content of the milk prevents dye from spreading beyond the point of application. The immature myrobalam contains tannic acid that acts as the mordant component for the black dye (kasimi).
The kalam, or bamboo pen, is the most important tool in painting kalamkari and gives the artform its name: kalam (pen)kari (work/action/agent). A kalam is made from bamboo splinters measuring about 4-6 inches in length, sharpened to a tip of desired thickness. A thicker point is preferred for filling in background color, while a finer point is used for outlines. About 1 to 1 ½ inches from the tip of the kalam, is a dye reservoir made from small rags of coarse wool that are wound around the bamboo and tied in place by cotton thread. This reservoir absorbs and retains the dye solution.
According to many artists, cotton cloth cannot be used for the reservoir as it has higher absorptive capacity, no resilience, and would release larger amounts of dye when squeezed. Artists regulate the flow of dye down the bamboo kalam to the point through deliberate and controlled squeezing of the reservoir.
In this manner an artist can vary the thickness of the lines s/he draws by skilfully moving the tip of the kalam over the cloth. Kalams with thinner points are sometimes slit from the tip to the dye reservoir, and filled with a few strands of hair or thread to facilitate the flow of black dye. The reservoir of thekalam is never allowed to dry. It is washed and dried thoroughly before storage.
Most artists will sketch a charcoal outline on the prepared cloth before application of black dye (kasimi). Some artists use charred tamarind twigs to draw, while others use commercially manufactured charcoal or lead pencils.
The following steps are taken to prepare tamarind twigs (chinta boggo) for sketching:
• Dried twigs that have fallen around the tree are gathered and broken to a length of 3-7 inches.
• To char the twigs, a shallow circular pit is scooped out in dry soil and a heap of sand is kept besides the pit.
• The dry twigs are piled up to a height of 2-3 inches above the ground level. Some newspaper is also placed among the twigs to facilitate burning. The twigs and paper is set on fire.
• When the flame dies down, sand is thrown over the twigs, and they are set to cool in the pit for 3-4 hours.
• This slow cooling makes the pencils tough. The ash coloured twigs are then unearthed, rolled between one?s fingers to remove greyish bark until black color is revealed.The pencils so prepared can be stored until further use (do not remove bark before charring; else the twigs will turn to ash).
Black ink/dye or kasimi is at the basis of all traditional kalamkari paintings; it is used to outline all figures, write texts and narrative descriptions, and is the first ink to be applied to myrobalam-treated cloth. Kasimi is made from a fermented solution of rusted iron pieces and sugarcane jaggery. Scrap bits of iron are mixed with about 10 liters of water and jaggery until it is thin to the touch and sweet to the taste.? Keep the kasimi solution in an earthen pot, cover and let ferment for 12-15 days (longer if in a cooler climate). A brown/grey/blackish froth forms at the surface, indicating that the solution is ready. The iron acetate is strained through cotton cloth into another container (earthenware, plastic, stainless steel, glass). If stored in a cool place, the solution can be kept up to one year. Iron bits can be reused in later preparations of the solution. Kasmi solution is used for outlining of figures/motifs and for filling in larger areas in black color. When the iron acetate is applied to treated cloth, a chemical reaction takes place between the iron acetate and the myrobalam solution, causing the kasimi to first appear as a dull, brownish gray, and after a few seconds reach a deep black color. Artists use a cotton rag (or the reservoir ball on the side of the kalam) to dab/clean up any excess or unwanted ink that falls on the cloth. It takes about 5 minutes for the kasimi to fully dry on the cloth.
• When first applying kasimi to the cloth, the color appears dull, brown, gray and takes a few moments to turn a deep black-
CHAVALKODI & SURALPATTI (Pink, Red, Maroon)
Red shades are acquired through a lengthy alum mordant painting/dyeing process. Alum powder (50 grams) is dissolved in warm water (1 liter) until a thin and watery consistency is achieved. Artists paint alum solution on all portions of the cloth that should appear red. The cloth is allowed to dry for two days. It is then rinsed in flowing river water to remove excess alum, squeezed and dried in the sunlight. The alum solution can be stored in glass or plastic containers for several months. Once the alum solution is dried, water is brought to a boil in a large copper vessel. Chavalikodi root and Surulipatta bark is added to the boiling water. After about 20 minutes, artists submerge the alum-painted cloth and boil for about 40 minutes. The cloth is then removed, rinsed with cold water, and let dry. For a darker shade of red/multiple shades of red in a single piece, the entire process (treatment in myrobalam solution, alum painting and Chavalikodi root and Surulipatta bark dye vat boil) is repeated until desired color(s) is achieved. Some artists are also applying lime juice onto portions cloth that have already been dyed red, in order to obtain a light pink color. Typically lime juice is used to create pink line details on red figures or on floral motifs. At present it is important to note that most artists are using a synthetic form of alizerine for obtaining red colors on cloth. Typically the alizerine is mixed with alum and painted directly onto the cloth, however some artists maintain the two-step process of painting alum first then dyeing the cloth in a red dye bath (in this case alizerine).
Preparation for lighter colors After the Chavalikodi root and Surulipatta bark dye bath, the cloth has a slight red tint. If the artist wishes to remove this red tint, the cloth needs to be bleached in a sheep dung and water solution and set overnight. The next day, the cloth is removed from the sheep dung solution, rinsed in flowing water, set on the banks of a sandy river bed, and sprinkled with water (until saturated) every hour for the entire day. In the evening the cloth is returned to the sheep dung solution and the process is repeated for 2-4 days, depending on the whiteness desired. Before yellow or additional colors are added, the cloth is again treated in the myrobalam-milk solution.
MYROBALAM FLOWERS (Yellow, Green, Brown)
A yellowish colored dye is obtained by mixing 150 grams of powdered myrobalam flowers and 4 liters of boiling water in an earthen or metal pot. The solution is stirred for some time and then set to cool for about 2-3 hours. Some artists have indicated that a better, darker shade of yellow is obtained if the solution is left to mature for a week in a glass (or non-absorbent) vessel. Before painting the yellow dye solution onto cloth, 10 grams of alum is added. All portions of a cloth that should appear yellow and green are painted with this dye solution. The dye can be stored up to 6 months in a cool place. Occasionally artists add a solution of aged mango bark and boiling water over the myrobalam yellow dye solution to obtain superior color fastness, or to create a slightly brownish color. The yellow solution, if set for several days, can turn a slight greenish tint. Otherwise, green can be obtain by painting portions with the myrobalam yellow solution, then treating the same portion of cloth with indigo dye. Once myrobalam yellow painting is completed, the cloth is dried in the shade. The next day, the cloth is washed well in flowing river water and dried in the sunlight. Sometimes pomegranate rinds are used to obtain a yellow color dye. About 200 grams of rinds are powdered and boiled in 3 liters of water. Once cooled, about 8-10 grams of alum is added to the solution. The pomegranate rind solution can then be painted directly onto cloth, creating a dullish yellow color.
INDIGO and NEELI MANDU (Blue)NEELI MANDU / AQUAMARINE ~Blue~
For the most part, the blue dye currently being used in Sri Kalahasti is a synthetic ultramarine blue. The solution, called neeli mandu, is made from about 10 grams of commercially produced ultramarine blue dye lumps dissolved in water. It is applied to the cloth on unpainted portions where a blue color is desired, or it is painted over existing yellow portions that should be green. Once dried, the cloth is then washed lightly in water and dried. Based on the existing method of using ultramarine blue, the color is not very fast, therefore the cloth is washed carefully.
When indigo is applied by kalam / painting directly to the cloth, the dye is not fast. To insure fastness and stability of indigo, it is necessary to sumberge the cloth in an indigo vat, using a resist (like wax) to protect portions of the cloth that should not be blue. While indigo is used in limited situations by kalamkari artists in Sri Kalahasti, the following method has been cited for indigo painting onto cloth. If this technique for indigo application was used, it would likely fade easily and disappear if washed.
1) An earthen pot is buried in the earth, filled with powdered indigo cakes or nil (1/2 kg) and water (15 liters).
2) Another earthen pot is half-buried in the ground. The half that is left exposed outside is coated with lime. On top of this pot another earthen pot is placed, with a hole at the bottom. The upper pot is filled with paddy husk. Two solutions are then created, one a mixture of alkaline dirt (8 kg) and water (5 liters), the other a mixture of shell-lime (5kg) and water (5 liters). These solutions are poured over the upper pot, filtered through the husks, and drained into the lower pot. A lid is placed over the upper pot. The filtered alkaline-lime solution, collected in the lower pot, is called appala karam.
3) In a small pot, 2 kg thagarsa (cassia tora or tandipa ginjalu) seeds are boiled an aluminium pot with 3-4 liters of water for about 30-45 minutes until the seeds soften to a paste. The paste is cooled, and then mixed with the appala karam until a solution is obtained with the same consistency as that of the nil solution (step one). The two solutions (nil and thagarsa-alkaline-lime) are mixed together and left for 10-15 days (7-10 days in the summer, 15 days in the winter), stirring twice a day until a yellow-greenish color is obtained and the solution smells like mud. The indigo solution is then ready for painting, turning blue when exposed to air (through painting).
Ajrakh prints were dominated by geometrical shapes and use intense jewel-like colours of rich crimson and a deep indigo, with black and white highlights. In Gujarat, the main centres of Ajrakh are Dhamadka, Khavda and Bhuj. The Khatri community has been engaged in this craft for centuries and the technique has been passed down and perfected through several generations. Now, however, only two such family units of Ajrakh printers still practice the craft in India.
Ajrakh blocks are also no longer easy to come by, as there are very few block-makers (or indeed, block-making families) left in Sindh
Origins of Ajrakh
The history of the Ajrakh can be traced from the times of the ancient civilizations of the Indus Valley, around 2500BC to 1500BC. A bust of the King Priest excavated at Mohenjodaro shows a shawl — believed to be an Ajrakh—draped around his shoulders, which is decorated with a trefoil pattern (like a three-leafed clover) interspersed with small circles, the interiors of which are filled with a red pigment. The same trefoil pattern has been discovered in Mesopotamia, as well as on the royal couch of Tutankhamen. This pattern, which symbolises the unity of the gods of the Sun, water and earth, survives as the cloud pattern in the modern Ajrakh
Cultural Significance of Ajrakh
The people of Sindh have a deep reverence for Ajrakh. From birth to marriage, until death, Ajrakh celebrates all significant events of the life cycle. Ajrakh is worn as a turban, a shawl, spread as a bed-sheet or tablecloth and when worn out, it is recycled as a hammock for babies, cover for a bullock cart and most commonly used as a backing to patchwork quilts. It is used and reused till threadbare. It is worn by the wealthy as well as the poor — the colours, patterns and design-format remain the same, only the quality of the fabric is different.
Ajrakh Blocks (pors)
These are hand carved from the wood of Acacia Arabica trees. Several different blocks are used to give the characteristic repeated patterning. Making the blocks is a considerable challenge since the pattern has to synchronize perfectly with the whole of the Ajrakh as well as cover various areas against dye. Block makers (orporegars) use the simplest of tools, and carve each block in pairs that can register an exact inverted image on the other side.
The Original process of Ajrakh printing involved as many as 23 laborious steps!
Making of The Blocks
From the seasoned wood, a block is cut to the required size and sanded on a stone to get a leveled plane surface which is then checked out by the edge of a steel ruler.
The surface of the block is dipped in water and then n wari (dry, powdered clay) and rubbed against rohi (granite). With the friction, a whitish layer is formed on the surface of the block. A base line is drawn with the help of a steel ruler; a compass is then used to verify right angles so that a square is constructed accurately.
Diagonals are marked and the square is quartered and then further sixteenth. The pattern drawn on the paper is transferred by etching fine lines on the surface of the block.
These blocks are now made in Barmer itself but the carvers are not native. Most of them are from Farukabad, Uttar Pradesh. They have set up their homes in Barmer (near this village) for the sake of their profession.
The Traditional Craft Of Ajrakh Uses Only Natural Colors (Vegetable Dyes) For Its Making. The Usual Colors Of The Craft Are Red, Yellow, Blue And Black. However Green And Some Other Secondary Colors Are Also Used Now-A-Days. They Are Generally Made By Mixing The Usual Colors.
The Colors Being Made From All Natural Materials Are Harmless To The Workers In All Ways. Whereas The Chemical Ajrakh Printing Which Has Come Up In The Recent Past Uses Chemical Dyes Which Are Very Harmful To The Health Of The Workers.
Color Material Cost
Black Gurrh Usual Amount
Bajri Ka Aata
Iron Piece 12 Rs/Kg
• Fabric Used Is Generally Greige Cotton Fabric.(30s)
• Fabric Is Brought From Tripu
• Means Of Transportation Is Generally
• Cost Price Is Around
• The Fabric Is Brought And Washed On The Very First Day In Soda Ash To Remove Impurities.
• Then After Drying The Fabric It Is Again Washed In Harad.
A Wooden Table Is Used By The Workers To Place The Fabric For Printing. It Has Around 40-50 Layers Of Fabric On It So That It Becomes Easy For The Main Fabric To Absorb Color When It Is Printed. Babul Wood Is Used For The Making Of The Table As It Cheap. One Table Costs Around Rs. 300-400.
A Wooden Jaali Is Used In A Wooden Container Which Has The Resist Paste In It. It Helps The Thick Layer Of Fabric To Float Over The Paste So That The Block Picks Up Appropriate Amount Of Color.
A Needle Is Used To Carve Blocks. Thickness Of The Tip Of The Needle Depends On The Amount Of Intricacy Required In The Design
First Indigo Dyeing
Meena and Watch
Steps Of Making Ajrakh:
Soda Ash Treatment
• 20 Number Of 5meater 30s Greige Cotton(100%) Fabric.
• (Fabric May Differ According To The Requirement But Cotton Is Mostly Used)
• Soda Ash
• Clean Water
From The Thaans Of Cotton Greige Fabric 20 Number Of Each 5mt Are Torn. These Fabrics Are Transferred To Huge Cemented Storage Where They Are Soaked In Soda Ash And Clean Water. This Is Done To Destarch The Fabric and Remove The Initial Impurities. Cloth Is Soaked In Soda Ash And Water For Around 14-15hours.
• Gondh – Glue Extracted From Tree.
• Chunna – Lime (Calcium Carbonate)
In A Mortar The Gondh Is Pounded Into Granules Then Dissolved In Water And Is Left To Soak Over Night. Meanwhile Chunna Is Soaked In Separately. Chunna Is The Main Resist The Whitening Powder, Which Helps To Ensure The Smooth Texture Of The Mixture, So It Does Not Crack And Make The Surface Impermeable. The Next Day Chunna Is Mixed With The Thickening Gondh.
This Mixture Is Then Transferred To A Container Which Is Covered With Layers Of Bamboo Sieve, Thick Cloth, And Thin Cotton Fabric.
This Provides Even And Required Amount Of The Mixture Over The Blocks In Order To Get Proper Design.
The Craftsman Thus Pound The Required Designed Blocks Over The Color And Prints On The Fabric. This Forms The First Outline Base Where Different Colored Dyes Are Filled.
After The Print, Craftsman Takes The Fabric And Lays It Down On The Sanded Ground In Open Air Under The Sun. He Covers It With Sand From The Edges In Order To Avoid Folding Or Flying Of The Fabric.
Bhichlana Is The Process of Indigo Wash.
The Dyed Fabric When Dried Is Taken For A Wash In Clean Water. The Craftsman Beats The Fabric Harshly, This Is Important As The Fabric Gives Out The Blue Color When In Contact With Water.
• Indigo Powder
Indigo Powder Is Mixed With Water And Stored. This Mixture Is Stored For Ages And Fresh Indigo Powder Is Added Constantly As Required. Fabric After All The Block Printing Is Now Ready For Dyeing. The First Dyeing Is In Indigo. The Fabric Is Folded Many Times; The Craftsman Wearing Cloves Dips The Entire Cloth Slowly Inside The Indigo Solution Waits For Few Seconds For The Cloth To Absorb The Dye Properly. He Takes It Out And Hands It To Other Craftsman Who Takes It For Drying In Open Air Under The Sun.
• Boiling Water
• Dhabri Ke Phul
The Craftsman Prepares A Bhatti For This Process. Over It Water Is Kept To Boil. Meanwhile Alizer Mixture Is Prepared. Alizer Brings Out The Red Color Of Imli Powder.
200grams Of Alizer Is Taken For 100meater Of Fabric. It Is Then Rapped Inside A Cotton Cloth And Immersed In 4-5 Cups Of Water.
The Cloth Acts As A Sieve And Allows The Alizer Powder To Mix Well In Water.
This Mixture Is Poured In The Boiling Water And Stirred Well. Fabric Is Dipped In It And Is Allowed To Soak The Color. After 15minutes Dhabri Flower Is Also Put In The Boiling Water.
Dhabri Flower Is Essential To Remove The Resist And Also Cleans The Fabric Of The Cow Dung Powder. The Fabric Is Kept In This Mixture For Over Half And Hour While The Water Boils Consecutively In Low Flame. The Craftsman Takes Out The Fabric And Let It Dry
• 1kg Powdered Harrah
• 50 Gm Oil
• 100gm Water
Harrah Is A Fruit Which Is Powered To Give Yellow Color To The Fabric. This Is A Very Important Ingredient As This Forms The Base Of The Fabric And Oil Provides Proper Absorption Property. This Solution Also Removes Further Impurities.
Fabric Is Dipped In The Solution Of Harrah, Oil And Water. This Procedure Is Repeated Twice So That Every Portion Of The Fabric Absorbs The Solution Appropriately. The Fabric Is Then Put Inside A Machine Which Squeezes The Fabric And Drains Out The Water. This Fabric Is Carried And Beaten Harshly Twice On Stone By The Worker. This Is Done So That The Color Is Spread Evenly Throughout The Cloth. It Is Taken In The Sun To Dry.
Fabric Is Dyed In Indigo To Get Better Quality And Rich Color
Dip In Alum
After All The Process Of Block Printing And Dyeing The Fabric Is Dipped In Alum. This Makes The Color Stronger On The Fabric And Thus Increases The Quality. Fabric Is Washed Of The Alum And Kept For Drying.
Fabric Is Put In Boiling Water To Give The Final Finish, Remove The Extra Impurities And To Give A Smoother Effect.
• Multani Mitti
Multani Mitti Is Crushed Into Powder; The Craftsman Then Dissolves This Powder In Water Over A Cloth Sieve In Order To Avoid Lumps And Softens It By Hand Till It Forms A Smooth Paste.
This Paste Is Mixed With Gondh To Provide Fasten Quality And Alum Which Acts As A Colorant To Make The Print Visible. This Mixture In Particular Is Called ‘Kiriyana’.
Kiriyana Is Poured Into A Vessel And The Bamboo Sieve Is Kept Over It. No Cloth Is Used Here As The Amount Of Color Required On The Blocks Is More To Get Thicker Print.
Jhibri Print Is Done Over The Black Outline That Is Over Kirchi Print. This Overprinting Is Done As Kiriyana Acts As Resist.
A Brighter White Color Is Resumed After Dying As Compared To The First Outline Print ‘Batana’. After The Print, Craftsman Keeps The Fabric For Drying In The Similar Way As Mentioned Above.
• Multani Mitti
• Annar Powder
The Five Ingredients Are Mixed Together. Turmeric And Annar Powder Provides Yellow Color; Alum And Gond Are The Resists. Khar Is The Third Color Fill Of Ajrak.
The Batana Outline Is Filled With Yellow Color According To The Design. Cow Dung Is Spread And Fabric Is Taken For Drying.
• Iron Rot
• Bajere Ka Aata
Iron Pieces Are Soaked In Water And Kept For Days To Rot. Meanwhile Bajere Ka Aata Is Mixed With Gurh And Kept Overnight.
The Rotted Iron Is Then Mixed With The Paste Of Gurh And Aata. This Mixture Is Put In The Container Layered With The Similar Materials.
Khirchi Print Is Done Over The White Base Print In Particular Places Which Forms The Required Design. Khirchi Print Only Defines The Outline Which Latter Is Filled With Black Color.
After The Print, Craftsman Keeps The Fabric For Drying In The Similar Way As Mentioned Above.
• Imli Powder
• Cow Dung Powder
Imli Powder, Alum And Gondh Are Mixed Together. Imli Provides Red Color And Alum And Gondh Acts As Resists. Kunka Chekna Is The Second Color Fill Of Ajrak. Blocks Of Kunka Chekna Are Separate As It Fills The Bale Design Of ‘Batana’ Print With Red Color.
Cow Dung Is Spread By The Craftsman Over The Print To Avoid Misprints. Fabric I Then Kept For Drying Under The Sun.
Kut Also Known As Kala Dutta
• Iron Rot
• Cow Dung Powder
Iron Rot, Gondh And Alum Are Mixed Together. Iron Rot Provides The Black Color And Helps In Oxidation Which Further Darkens The Color. Alum And Gondh Acts As The Resist.
Kut Or Kala Dutta Is The First Color Filling Of Ajrak. This Print Fills Black Color To The Jhibri Outline Print.
The Craftsman After Finishing Each Frame Of Print Covers It With Dry Cow Dung Powder Which Sticks To The Wet Print.
As The Amount Of Mixture Of Color Used Is More The Powder Prevent Misprints. After The Print, Craftsman Keeps The Fabric For Dying Under The Sun.
Fabric Is Again Washed Harshly To Remove Dhabri Flower And To Let The Color Flow Off.
Meena Means Reapplication Of Resists Over The Fabric. Thus The Process Of Jhibri, Kut, Kunda Chekna And Kharh Block Prints Are Reapplied.
The Fabric Is Washed Two To Three Times Thoroughly With Clean Water. This Removes The Impurities And Cleans The Cloth Off Soda Ash.