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The beautiful art of indigo mud resist blockprints

We're fortunate to have received a beautiful selection of vintage Kantha quilts that have been recreated with natural indigo using the traditional Rajasthani mud resist technique.

This is an age old art, usually used on fabric (and in the videos below, on a fabulous pink!). Our Jaipur suppliers have been experimenting with using the technique on vintage kantha quilts, and the results are wonderful!

A paste of mud, known as Dabu, is made from potters’ clay (collected from the dried edges of lake beds in summer), wheat powder, tree gum and lime, and is traditionally mixed with the feet. The Dabu is applied with a woodblock to the fabric, just as ink would be in regular block printing, but the blocks used are cut deeper and are generally simpler in design, to accommodate the consistency of the mud.

 

 

Once the printing is complete, the mud is sprinkled with sawdust and the fabric is laid out in the sun to dry.

 

 

This ensures that the mud is sealed prior to dyeing, so that the areas covered "resist" the dye and don't smudge. Once the mud print is set, the fabric is then immersed in dye, in this case natural indigo. The fabric is dried, and then the mud is washed away (quite a physical process of slapping and rubbing against a stone surface) to reveal the original fabric.

Optionally, the fabric can then be dyed again, creating a double dye effect - stunning in two shades of indigo!

 

I'm so thrilled to share these beautiful pieces - each a one off - a traditional process creating a really contemporary aesthetic.

Read more about the kantha quilt tradition in my previous post.