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
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