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Printing and Natural Dyeing on Fabric in Jaipur

It was chilly. About 55 degrees F. and there they were, standing barefoot and completely drenched in the dye water. It's the real thing... human labor, not machines, stamping resist patterns onto yards of cloth, then dyeing the cloth in natural dyes like indigo (from plants) and iron oxide (from rusted metal). But what beautiful results.

This is how fabric is dyed with indigo - large cement vats outside the main building.

The stamp mud resist process (or dabu) involves a carved wooden block that is dipped into a water soluble resin. While it is still wet, fine dried mud is sprinkled onto it to prevent the dye from seeping beneath the pattern. The fabric is then dyed, and afterwards, the resin and mud mixture is washed away, revealing the natural fabric color beneath.

Handcarved wood blocks create the printed fabrics. A lot of fabric is silkscreened as well, but we did not see that process in action.

Fabric designs are covered with dried  mud in preparation for another color bath.

Outside the buildings, long sari fabrics in jewel like colors dried in the breeze.


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