Jaipur, a hub for fine handloom textiles
A hub for handloom textiles, Jaipur serves to get the finished products from the nearby handloom centres and makes a good marketing venue for a variety of handloom weaves. Dabu, Bagru prints, block prints of Sanganer, the Bandhani, fine Jaipuri prints on soft Rajasthani cottons make for a very wide and varied range of handloom sarees, salwar kameez, kurtis, kurtas, indo western fabrics, in this pink city.
Bagru Prints are known for their unique use of Natural Dyes and Hand Block Printing.
Wooden Hand Blocks are blocks of wood with holding grips on one side and a flat smooth surface or pressing side with design engraved on it on the other. Designs engraved are transferred to the fabric by filling colours in the etched cavities and giving a sharp hit to the pressed block on the cloth.
The fabric is pre-washed and soaked for several hours together to allow for dirt, oil and other contaminants to separate out. The smearing of the fabric or cloth to be dyed is with Fuller’s Earth, brought from the riverside. It is then dipped in turmeric water. Fuller’s Earth washed away imparts a creamish colour to the fabric. Then it is soaked in the solution of Harda or fruit of the myrobalan plant and dried in the sun which gives it a yellowish cream hue. This is a unique feature of Bagru Prints and the process is instrumental for the colour fastness of the Print dyes that would be applied.
The fabric is then printed with natural dyes or colorants which are derived from plants and animals. Different blocks with different colours are used for the different parts of the overall design. Since a majority of the natural dyes are from plants, Bagru Prints are also referred to as ‘eco-friendly’ prints.
Bagru prints are done on off-white, ivory white or beige background sarees. Motifs of circular designs, flowers, fruits, birds create allure on fabrics like crepe, georgette, chiffon, silk, cotton. Exotic Bagru prints are quite popular on south handloom cotton saris woven with zari borders.
Sanganer prints are one of their kind, for the reason that patterns in bright colors are always printed on white backgrounds. They are also block prints that are printed in roughly the same way, though the wooden blocks would carry a lot of floral motifs and designs. The river Saraswati flowing past Sanganer has a special quality in its water that brings a radiance to the Sanganer fabrics that go through several wash cycles before they are ready.