Although the basic principles remain the same, there are several variations of Mud Resist printing techniques. Here, we will explain specifically the Dabu Resist method, which is the most commonly practiced in Rajasthan, where we create and produce our very own exclusive fabric designs.
In order to produce a mud resist print we need first of all the mud resist paste. This paste is essentially made with black clay from ponds which accounts for the main ingredient of the resist effect. Wheat powder and Arabic Gum are then added to improve adhesion of print paste to block and fabric. And finally, Lime water is included in the mix to prevent cracking of clay at the printed portion and also to improve adhesion of print to fabric.
The method varies from printer to printer but most commonly the Dabu paste is placed onto the fabric with the help of a carved wooden block. Depending on creativity and desired effects, other objects and even hands may be used to create specific designs.
Saw dust is then sprinkled manually on the wet Dabu print and left for a few hours for drying. After printing and drying, the fabric is then dipped in a cold dye solution. Indigo dyeing is the most common and in which case would produce a white print effect against a blue background. The Dabu printing and dyeing processes may be repeated till the desired design is obtained.
Dabu printing is a very slow and meticulous art form and extremely skilled printers are essential to achieve highly artistic results. This emphasises the need not only to preserve traditional skills but also to upgrade the designs to a contemporary context, working in such a way that traditional handicraft heritages may be safeguarded for the ultimate benefit of a community and its people.