Have you ever seen Indian block printed fabric? I’m sure you’ve seen the muddy and dull bed spreads and tablecloths at Pier One or Cost Plus stores. These products are nothing NOTHING like the real thing. We went to Pipar to see the master block printers at work. The man in charge of the block printing in Pipar is a master block printer whose family has been in the business for 150 years.
Here he is with Kiran, who planned the trip.
You can see how brilliant and clean the colors and patterns are in these well-executed prints.
The pie plates above hold the natural dyes used in the process. The dyes come from plants, stones, and minerals.
In the next picture, you see a man making the first printing pass. He dunks his block in the dye and presses it onto the cloth.
When he’s finished with a section, he sprinkles the stamped cloth with sawdust. The sawdust prevents the design from smudging when it goes into the dye bath.
Two men lower cloth into an indigo dye bath. The master told us they never change out the dye; they top it off when it gets low!
“Hey! I thought indigo was blue!” Well, so it is when it dries, but in the dye bath, it’s green. The cloth begins to turn blue as soon as it is stretched out in the air. In the next photo, two women carry wet fabric to the drying yard.
The fabric will be completely blue by the time it is spread on the ground.
Counter clockwise from the right: Stamped, dyed, completed. The fabric goes through several stages of stamping and dying to get the various colors and shades.
Here’s Kalyani with some more beautiful prints.
Besides visiting all the textile producers, we had a chance to shop, eat, and have experiences any Indian person would have, including a ride in a Tuk-tuk. A tuk-tuk is the same as the autorickshaw I’ve described in previous entries. Up here, they’re tuk-tuks. Wherever they are, they are crammed to the bursting point with people.
Brigitte took this shot as she was RUNNING behind the moving tuk-tuk trying to jump in. She made it…whew! There were six of us in it. The driver said he could fit in THREE more! Wow.
If you ever get the chance, you must go to Rajasthan. You’ll get a big welcome from everyone.
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