Our next adventure into the art hand-crafted textiles takes us to the little town of Bagru, just outside Jaipur. We learned the process of mud-resist indigo dyeing from Rajkanwar and Rachna Singh, a mother and daughter duo who are passionate about keeping the art of block printing alive in modern times. They welcomed us into their family-run factory and explained how they support the local community by making sustainable products employing hand-made techniques and centuries-old methods. They supply locally in India as well as collaborating with international designers. The ‘language of the hand’ – a phrase I heard used to describe the art of block printing – is all important to the Singh family. They hope to energise block printing and keep it economically sustainable in their region by reinterpreting traditional crafts and drawing inspiration from contemporary trends throughout the world.
continue reading to find out how the mud-resist indigo dyeing technique works
Allow your imagination to wander a little as we travel to a dimly-lit, moody printing factory in the back streets of Jaipur. Dust motes drift through the air and long tables, draped in a vibrant magenta fabric, stretch across the length of the space. The muted sound of the systematic thump and whack provides the coordinated background beat that the factory workers move to as they efficiently shift between the rows of printing tables. We are in no ordinary printing factory. We are in a block printing factory… a hand block printing factory. Literally. Each motif, each layer of attentively placed colour, is done by hand. Many hands, many hours of work. All to produce the most exquisite traditional prints that are one of the customary arts of the Rajasthan region.