Rajasthan's Bagru Block Printing Technique

Bagru printing is a traditional technique that uses natural colours in a remote area of Rajasthan. It is an old block-printing art that is still alive in the markets of India
Photo Credits Kalcutta / Shutterstock.com
Photo Credits Kalcutta / Shutterstock.com

Block printing is a well-known art form that showcases detailed and intricate designs, vibrant colours, and skilled craftsmanship. Skilled artisans have been practising this art for centuries in various localities nationwide. The designs are usually inspired by folklore and historical motifs from that region. Artisans typically use seasoned teak wood to carve the blocks used for printing. The process involves preparing the fabric by washing and treating it to ensure the dye does not wash off easily. Organic and eco-friendly dyes from vegetables, minerals, and other natural resources are used. The block-printing process begins by dipping the blocks into the dye and carefully stamping them onto the fabric to create beautiful intricate designs. This process is repeated multiple times across the fabric. Cotton and silk fabrics are this art form&rsquos most commonly used materials.

Different regions of India have their own distinct styles of block printing, and here are a few types of block-printing techniques and how they have been practised for centuries by various families in India.

Bagru Print

On the outskirts of the Gulab Nagri lies Bagru, a small town lined with block-printing and dyeing units. Despite urbanization, Bagru remains home to the traditional art of Bagru Block-printing, a skill passed down the generations for at least the past three centuries. The Titanwala family has performed this form of block printing for the past 300 years. Mr Suraj Narayan Titanwala is the master craftsman and a custodian of this traditional form of block printing. The stunning patterns have been designed in the city of Bagru for a long time. The Titanwala Bagru prints are very intricate and require the most skilled artisans to carry out this art form.

From designing detailed patterns to carving wooden blocks, the Titanwala family pays a lot of attention to every single detail to ensure a perfect print every single time. What makes the Bagru print so different and distinct from other prints is a resist-dyeing technique known as Dabu. Dabu involves applying a mud paste made out of clay, gum, and lime to the fabric, preventing the dyes from getting penetrated into the intricate designs of the fabric. The Titanwala family&rsquos skilful, stunning printing techniques have earned them recognition in the field of block printing. They have worked with several designer labels, such as Ritu Kumar, Anokhi, etc., to create contemporary collections of the Bagru print and have done so by experimenting with modern colour palettes and new block-printing techniques. The Titanwala family&rsquos contribution to the world of fabrics and prints continues to inspire new generations of artisans. Their efforts have continued to keep the Bagru tradition alive and popularize this unique block-printing technique.

If you wish to attend a Bagru block-printing workshop, the Wabi Sabi Project is the perfect place. Working with naturally sourced inks and dyes, they print intricate designs and traditional motifs onto the fabric.

The Process 

The Bagru block printing process begins with preparing the cloth and continues through indigenous methods until the finished printed fabrics are achieved. Wooden blocks transfer motifs with special features onto a light-coloured background using two different styles direct and resist.

Where To Buy 

Rajasthan offers several markets to purchase authentic Bagru fabrics. These markets are known for their diverse collection of textiles.

Jaipur Johri Bazar and Bapu Bazar are the best markets in Jaipur, where you can find a wide range of Bagru printed fabrics. These bustling bazaars also have boutiques that specialize in traditional block-printed materials.

Bagru A fantastic way to shop for fabrics in Bagru is to visit the artisans in person. You can see their studios and purchase various Bagru fabrics directly from them.

Jodhpur To buy an excellent collection of Bagru fabrics in Jodhpur, the Clock Tower Market is the perfect place to shop for Bagru fabrics.

Cover Photo Credits Kalcutta/Shutterstock.com

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