Friday, 12 April 2013


So, at last, to Balotra.

There are so many huge silk printing factories on the outside of town.   The River Luni and it's surroundings  are stained with discharged chemicals.     Many of the traditional block printers, or Chippas, now work in these factories.   

Our "man who knew"  directed us through the winding alleys of the old town

a little distraction - the woven base of a charpoy (Indian bed) propped up against a wall.   
I really do need one of these!!!

Around the corner the block printers busily working

making new printing blocks called buntas or buntis    they are generally made of 
seasoned sisam wood     the blocks are carved by hand and an intricate one
can take up to five days to complete    the blocks last for 1000-1500 metres  
that's a lot of printing

printing with indigo mixed with dabu (mud) paste as a resist

design printed with dabu resist   the print is dusted with fine sawdust
to prevent the design from smudging as the next section is printed,
and seals the printed portion from the subsequent dyeing process

and this is the printer in my book, how amazing   he had never seen
the picture before and was quite overcome  I will send a copy to him

And, finally, the rigorous beating and washing process

cloth laid out in the sun to dry

kuttar print

the distinctive Balotra prints we were searching for

the family have been printing the cotton cloth for over 150 years
the workshops are lined with shelves full of printing blocks

So exciting  must return for a longer visit in November


Radka said...

I am so enjoying your trip!

ThatFuzzyFeeling said...

How wonderful! I think I have the same book, purchased at the Anokhi museum a few years ago - it has small swatches of fabric that look very similar to those in your photos. I would love to pay a similar visit sometime...your photos and descriptions will do for now, though! Liz

Tart said...

Me too, I bought the book at the Art Book Centre in Ahmedabad in February! I love Ajrakh and was interested to see the contrasting work done in Balotra. So glad I found your blog and can 'travel' with you.