Bagru: A Fabric Printing Process Named After A Village In Rajasthan

Bagru, a rural Indian village in Rajasthan, is situated around thirty kilometers east of Jaipur city. Its traditional process of hand block printing on textiles with rich natural colors has been known for many centuries. The process starts from preparing the cloth to finished printed fabrics through their indigenous methods. Certain types of motifs are transferred onto light coloured background with wooden blocks following two styles, direct and resist style.

A short documentary on Bagru printing:

The Process

The process is painstakingly long and involves as many as eighteen steps. It all starts with a plain, raw cloth that is first washed in a mixture of cow dung, soda ash and sesame oil, and then sun-bleached. This improves the strength of the material. It is then treated with harde (a type of plant) to make it more amenable to fix the dye. Post this the craftsmen manually print the cloth with wooden blocks, following which it undergoes several steps of dyeing and washing. All the raw materials used in the process are natural. You can read the detailed process here:

The Patterns

Just like the neighbouring style of Sanganer, Bagru does use floral and natural patterns. In addition it also uses geometric shapes — such as leher (waves), chaupad (checks), and kangura (triangles), and jaali — a gridded trellis pattern which may have been adapted from Islamic architecture.

How is it Used?

Bagru prints are immensely used in contemporary as well as conventional garments.

Conventionally, Bagru prints were used mostly for ghagras (skirts), odhnis (scarves) and pagris (turbans). The printed lengths of rough cotton about 50 cms wide were typically sewn together for long skirts.

Today, the products made with Bagru block prints have entered into Home Furnishings, apparel and accessories.

Source of featured image: Mogra Designs

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