Bagru Block Prints: Discover an Artistic Flair on Fabrics
History of Bagru Block Prints
The history of Bagru block printing dates back to the 17th century, during the reign of Aurangzeb. Bagru block printing is a type of printing that uses wooden blocks to create detailed and artistic designs on fabric. Plants and flowers make the dyes used to give the fabric has unique and natural appearance.
The people who were good at printing on fabrics brought the Bagru printing technique to the village of Bagru. They made beautiful designs and used natural dyes to make the colors.
Bagru block painting is a traditional form of block printing originating from the town of Bagru in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Bagru block printing is a way of making beautiful designs on cotton and silk fabrics. Bagru block printing creators carve wooden blocks by hand and use natural colors to make the designs. Bagru block printing gained popularity in the 19th century when the demand for printed cotton fabrics grew in India and abroad.
The textile industry adopted the technique and it became an important part of the country's cultural heritage. In the olden days, artists would create very detailed designs on wooden blocks. They would then dip these blocks into natural colors made from plants, flowers, and vegetables. After that, they used the blocks to print the designs on fabrics. Then, they stamped the blocks onto the fabric. With time, artisans improved the technique by including more complex designs and a wider range of colors.
As a first step, an artist either draws a design by hand or creates it using computer software. They transfer the finalized design onto a wooden block. Hand printing on fabric is a traditional method of creating unique and customized designs on textiles using manual techniques.
Carvers carve the design in reverse so that the image appears the right way around when stamped onto the fabric. The process involves transferring ink or dye onto the fabric surface using a carved block, stencil, or screen. Skilled artisans then carve the design onto the wooden block using chisels and hammers. Carvers carve the design in reverse so that the image appears the right way around when stamped onto the fabric. The fabric is then washed and treated with a mixture of mud and lime to create resistance. This resistance helps to prevent the dye from bleeding into the fabric. After the fabric dries, they dip the wooden block into the natural dye and then stamp it onto the fabric. They repeat the process until they achieve the desired pattern. The fabric is then left to dry. The fabric is then immersed in a dye bath made from natural dyes such as indigo, madder, or turmeric.
The dye bath absorbs the color from the fabric for several hours. After that, they wash the fabric to remove excess dye and iron it to remove any wrinkles. Finally, the artisans complete the fabric, making it ready to use for clothing or any other purposes. Bagru block printing involves the use of intricate designs, ranging from geometric patterns to floral motifs. The designs are often inspired by nature, and each block is unique, resulting in one-of-a-kind textiles.
Skilled artisans do the printing using traditional methods which provide the fabric with a handmade quality and a unique touch of creativity. Each piece is different than the other, adding to its charm and uniqueness.
Bagru block printing is an alternative to modern textile printing methods. The use of natural dyes and traditional techniques not only creates beautiful textiles but also reduces the environmental impact of textile production.
Steps for Creating Bagru Block Painting:
- Pre-wash the fabric: Wash the fabric to remove any sizing or impurities and to ensure that the fabric is clean and ready for printing
- Prepare the dyes: Create natural dyes using plants, minerals, or other organic materials. Common dyes in Bagru block printing include indigo, turmeric, and pomegranate
- Carve the blocks: Using traditional carving techniques, carve intricate designs onto wooden blocks, ensuring that the design is precise and clean
- Apply the dyes: Dip the blocks into the prepared dyes and stamp them onto the fabric, creating the desired design
- Repeat the process: After the dye has dried, the artisan repeats the stamping process with extra colors and designs until they achieve the desired pattern
- Heat-setting the print: After printing, the fabric is fixed with an iron or heat press to make the print permanent
You can find some examples of Bagru block prints by following the links provided
The process of Bagru block printing is time-consuming and requires a lot of skill and precision, but the end result is a beautiful and unique textile that is both sustainable and has cultural significance. It has become a part of Indian cultural heritage, and the textiles created through this technique have a deep cultural significance.
Each design and pattern tells a story and reflects the region's history and traditions. The technique has also gained recognition abroad, with designers and fashion brands incorporating Bagru prints into their collections. The use of natural dyes and traditional techniques make Bagru block painting a sustainable and sustainable form of art.
Read other article: The Diversity In Indian Fabric Prints: Our True Cultural Heritage