The world of block-printing is fascinating. Blocks of wood come together to create patterns that are nothing short of works of art. Pulsating patterns, vibrant colours, stunning prints, daring designs and intricate workmanship, each fabric has a story of is own. Among the noteworthy ones, the art of block printing is especially popular because the simple process can create such sensational prints in rich and exotic colours. This particular art of printing employs wooden or metal blocks to print designs and patterns on fabrics by hand. In my earlier blog I have written about Sanganeri Block print…Today I am going to write about Bagru block print technique. It is one of the traditional techniques of printing with natural colour followed by the chippas of a remote place of Rajasthan.
Bagru is a name that is derived from the word “Bagora”. Bagora is the name of an island where the city was built initially. It is renowned for palm aficionados and flat patterns. Bagru prints can be distinguished by their wealthy color prints and patterns. Using indigenous methods of dyeing and printing beautiful colors such as, indigo blue, alizarin, bright yellow etc. are informed to the cotton fabric. The 3 main colors in Bagru include maroon, red and black. Patterns engage geometric patterns mixed with flora, bird and animal forms. Now, synthetic dyes have been substituted with some of the natural dyes. The process of making the concluding products is still the same. Some of the styles and motifs have been adapted with the varying trends. New bases such as fabrics, layouts and motifs are now tested rather than silk and cotton as the traditional bases.
The process starts from preparing the cloth to finished printed fabrics through their indigenous methods. Motifs having some specialty are transferred onto light coloured background with wooden blocks following two styles direct and resist style. Although this technique is facing problems against the threat of globalization, this exotic art of creation is required to be encouraged in the present context of environmental consciousness.
Motifs of Bagru
The historical progress of the motifs of Bagru is difficult to understand. These are mostly derived from the flora and fauna and are natural in origin. A Comparative study of the evolution and layout of motifs clearly reveal a change from old tradition and style. Initially the prints were primarily floral and vegetative. After the Persian influence they became more geometrical.
Difference between Sanganeri and Bagru style of printing
The main distinguishing feature between Saanganer and Bagru printing is that Saanganer print is usually done on a white ground. Whereas Bagru prints are printed on an Indigo or a dyed background. Local water also has its effects. In the water of Saanganer, the results of block printing are very rich dark shades of colour. Bagru on the other hand finds a reddish tinge in the block printed textiles. Colour combinations and motifs help differentiate one block-printing style from another.
The complexity and sheer wealth of detail of block print is what prompted me to write about it again and again. I hope you would also enjoy knowing about the different processes of block printing as much as I did understanding them. if you have any suggestions, please feel free to share your feedbac in our comments section. Till then keep smiling and stay happy!