Dabu Printing is an age old ethnic tradition that has stood the test of time as a unique way of dyeing and printing. Dabu Prints churn out extraordinary fabrics of brilliant colours and mind-blowing designs that have left modern pundits dumbstruck.
Dabu printing is a unique art form. This mud-resist hand-block printing has an elaborate process that involves hand block printing to be done on the fabric with Dabu paste. Dabu paste is made from clay and Guar gum and sprinkled with saw dust. This makes the Dabu printed area resistant to dyes.
Each fabric is pre-washed and soaked for about 24 hours to remove starch, oil, dust, or any other contaminants which could prevent proper dyeing and printing. Then the fabric is block printed with dabu, and laid to dry in the sun. Once the mud is dry, the fabric is immersed in a dye, and again laid to dry in the sun. The process could sometimes be repeated for repeated dabu printing on top of the dyed fabric to create further layers of resist and again dye it in darker shades of the dye. Finally the fabric is washed to remove all traces of the dabu mud, revealing the resist area to be the original colour. The fabric is again dried in the sun and is ready to be packaged and sold.
Bandhani or Bandhni or Bandhej is a highly-skilled process involving Tie-Dye method, wherein the base fabric is first tied at several points by threads and then the threads are dyed. The manner in which the tying is done decides the resulting pattern, which could be Leheriya, Mothra, Ekdali or Shikari. Patterns which emerge are generally dots, strips, waves or squares.
Dark Colours are employed for dyeing the ‘Bandhani’ and could be natural or artificial. Principally applied colours being red, green, blue, black or yellow, the background is generally red or black. The fabrics are dyed dark and the knotted areas remain un-dyed leading to a phenomenal dotted pattern of shapes across the entire fabric when the knots are untied. There are examples of more than a thousand knots and more on a single fabric that have resulted in stunning outcomes.