Praant Delighting in Dhabu .pdf
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Praant - Delighting in Dhabu!
Although the art of hand block printing is said to have originated in China, the state of Rajasthan in India is the
most prolific producer of hand block printed fabrics. Mud resist printing is a special variation, traced back to
circa 675 A.D. Today it is commonly acknowledged that the village of Akola, in the Chittorgarh district of
Rajasthan, is the originator of the unique Dhabu printing style which uses mud resists. It is said, each dhabuprinting family has its own secret recipe for the dhabu paste, which is taught only to the daughter-in-law!
Dhabu printing is a complicated, labour-intensive process. After the plain fabric is carefully washed to remove
any impurities which may interfere with the dyeing process, the designs are painstakingly hand printed on to
the fabric using blocks which are dipped into fast dyes. The next and crucial step involves the use of the mud
resist which makes this print so unique. Ingredients like mud, gum, lime and waste wheat chaff are combined
to make the ‘dhabu’ or mud resist paste which is then patted over certain parts of the design. The paste is
dried with sprinkled sawdust. This covering essentially
protects these parts of the fabric from the dye used later
on, creating a unique and colorful effect.
After this process of printing, the fabric is dried in the sun.
It is then dipped into a vat of dye, dried again and finally
given a thorough washing to remove the paste and any
excess dye. Typically natural vegetable dyes and pastes are
used. The uncovered parts of the fabric catch the color
while the dhabu covered bits remain plain. The fabric may
be dyed more than once in different colors to create
deeper, multi-coloured effects.
Hand block printing is essentially a village handicraft, which
is practiced as a family business, with the older generation
passing on the secrets of the craft to the next. These
artisans tend to produce the more traditional and classic
varieties of prints which are obviously considered the most
Today, there is a renewed interest and appreciation of this
village craft. New-age designers, craftsmen and fashionlovers across the world are inspired by dhabu printing. They
are learning the technique from the regional artisans and then adding their own unique twist. They are even
experimenting with newer fabrics like silk, georgette, crepe, etc.
At Praan:t, a top fashion studio in Pune, designer Monika Chordia is currently working with Dhabu printers to
create an exclusive designer collection of contemporary silhouettes for her upcoming exhibition in July 2017.
Smart casual wear for ladies and eye-catching accessories await the fashionista who appreciates the art and
effort that goes into such hand-created beauties. In Praan:t’s new collection, custom-made block printed
textiles in dhabu style will mingle with clamp-dyed fabrics and Chanderi textiles with creative surface
augmentation such as gold block-printing, embroidery and bead work to craft an eclectic range of bespoke
apparel for women. It’s all part of Monika Chordia’s effort to present and promote India’s rich tradition of
handloom and printing crafts. Other hand crafts to be seen in the upcoming collection include Chanderi
handlooms from MP, hand block-printed fabrics from Gujarat and Bhuj embroidery.