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CRAFTS OF INDIA / BAGH / PROCESS -2
BAGH
Printing Process

-A paste is made by mixing the dye with ‘Dhavda’ (a kind of flower) gum. There are two types of pastes: one is a red in color and the other is black. For the printing of red color, alum is boiled in a solution along with Tamarind seeds to create a paste.

-For black, Iron rust is boiled till it becomes a thick paste and this is used to print black. After preparing the pastes, they are filtered and poured into wooden trays. This dye is applied to the wooden block by pressing the block onto the tray.

-A wooden tray with a bamboo ‘Jaali’ fitted, known locally as Paliya, has red and black paste applied on it.

-Layers of thick wet cloth placed on these colors soak them up.

-The soaked fabric is taken out and spread over a stone slab covered with seven layers of jute, and then printing is done on the stretched cloth with the blocks with designs, dipped in colors, being placed lightly on the fabric.

-The yellowish cloth obtained from the earlier process is evenly stretched across the table. A black boundary is drawn with plain stamps around the cloth. The cloth now becomes a canvas for the craftsman, who skillfully prints and matches the intricate designs.

-He starts printing in rectangles, beginning from the outer portion of the cloth and moving inwards until it is covered. He avoids overlapping of the prints by putting an old cloth or paper where the printing has already been done.

Post Printing Process

-Printing of the designs being done across the length of the fabric, the saree is dried and kept aside for about eight days.

-For all the previous stages, the artisans use the water stored in in-house tanks. The final washing cycles of these printed dry fabrics is done in the Baghini River. The iron content of the river and the running water helps in bringing out the colors very fine and also softens the fabric.

-For the ‘Bagh’ printed cloth to have its characteristic contrast and finishing, it must pass through another dyeing process. ‘Alizarin’ mixed with ‘Dhavadi’ flower extracts are boiled together in a big copper container concealed in a cement structure. The printed cloth is then left to boil in it for five to six hours.

-The printed dye containing alum reacts with Alizarin to produce red. At the same time, ‘Dhavadi’ flowers work like a bleaching agent on portions printed with ‘Harada’, creating white areas. After this process, through which the designs turn red, black and white, the cloth is left to dry out in the sun, but in shade.

-Finally it is dried one last time.

-The Bagh Printed fabric is complete.

Bagh Prints were initially made on Handloom cotton fabrics. Looking to the successful outcome Bagh was also tried out on tussar silk and crepe to the same end.

The Bagh process seems simple but is quite elaborate and with a lot of washes for the fabric.

Making of a printed silk fabric needs double the time than a fabric of cotton.