Alizarin, Madder, Parijaat, Natural Dye, Bagh Print, Ajrakh, Puru Print, Hand block print, Dabu

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Madder roots: A source of natural herbal dye

Madder roots: Introduction & history

Madder or Manjishta (मंजिष्ठ) in Hindi is one of the oldest known sources of natural red color in dyeing fabrics worldwide. Roots of madder is used as a rich source of red dye since ages. It is found that even 3000 years B.C. in Mohen-Jo-Daro civilization it was used for dyeing clothes. There are two different species of madder found in the nature, rubia tinctoria and rubia cordifolia. Rubia cordifolia is better known as Indian madder or common madder and rubia tinctoria is known as dyer's madder. Both the varieties are rich sources of purpurin and alizarin which gives shades of pink, red and orange with different mordants.


Madder Plant (Source: http://www.planetayurveda.com)

Either madder roots or its powder is boiled in water to extract the dye stuff and then fabric dyed with it. Madder is one of the most useful natural dye used worldwide as source for variants of red. It is very fast dye if mordant is used properly.

In past in India madder roots and al roots (morinda tinctoria) were used as a source of red dye in hand block printing industry. In traditional hand block printing madder was used as a source of natural alizarin to get red dye color where alum is printed but today it is replaced by synthetic alizarin.

Herbal importance 


Madder is not just a source of dye but used as a main element in Ayurveda. A tonic called "Mahamanjishthadi Kada"  is named after its use in preparing it by mixing other herbs in certain proportion. This tonic is very useful and recommended by physicians for blood purification. It is having skin healing property too. People who are suffering from skin irritation or any other skin related problem madder dyed fabrics may work as a healer for them.


Dried Madder Roots 

Madder is very useful natural herbal dye which does not contaminate the water resources and works as a skin healer too. For a healthy skin madder dyed fabrics is a good choice.

Ecofab's work with madder

Ecofab has started working with madder roots since its inception to over dye traditional hand block print fabrics and sarees with it to get hues of pink and red. While working with craftsman came to know that today they are using synthetic alizarin in place of natural source of alizarin to get red color in place of alum print. 

Madder Powder

Ecofab started experimentation with madder to dye traditional hand block print fabrics with it but didn't got success initially. Result got as faded red color or no color while dyeing with madder roots. Ecofab continued experimentation and finally got the formula to get shades of red dye, orange and turkey red in place of alum printing in hand block printing. Ecofab created a madder formula to extract red color from madder. It gave a new dimension to Ecofab's work with traditional hand block print to regain its roots. Now valuable natural red dye is rejuvenated. 

Few of the finished products dyed with madder formula below:




Silk Cotton Bagh Print Saree (Dyed with madder) 


Modal Saree Printed in Tarapur (Dyed with madder) 

Modal Saree Printed in Tarapur (Dyed with madder) 


For more details you can explore 
www.ecofab.in

www.facebook.com/ecofabbharat


Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Alizarin hand block printing in India


Introduction


Alzarin printing is one of the most practiced techniques of hand block printing in India. It is a kind of direct mordant based hand block printing technique. It is known as alizarin print because of use of alizarin as an essential element in the dyeing process. It is also known as syahi (Black) & begar (Alum) work by the traditional craftsman.

In this block printing technique basically two natural colors available made from natural elements are red and black. To get red color first alum mordant is printed and then dyed with alizarin (Madder or al roots) to get red color but today synthetic alizarin is used in the process due to easy availability and cost factor and black color extracted by fermenting jaggery powder with iron rust. 

Today in India few famous traditional block printing centers for alizarin printing are Bagh, Bagru and Tarapur. Bagh and Tarapur situated in Madhya Pradesh and Bagru is in Rajasthan. Few decades ago Sanganer, Bhuj, Surat and other centers were also famous for this style of hand block printing but due to market pressure of lowering the prices and limitation of colors in the process most of the centers converted into pigment printing or stopped work. 

Every area has its own geographical specialty and quite famous for it. Bagh is famous for its vibrant red and Tarapur is famous for its zed black.

Geographical differences in Alizarin Printing


Bagh print is one of the famous form of alizarin hand block printing craft of India, practiced in tribal village “Bagh” situated at the banks of Baghini River in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. Minerals found in the Baghini river water gave natural color more vibrancy and increase its fastness. Due to river water printing with alum gives a vibrant red color while dyeing with alizarin.

Bagh Print Cotton Fabric

Due to its local specialty it got geographical indicated brand status in the year 2009. Some 400 years ago few families of "Khatri Community" migrated from Sindh province in today’s Pakistan to Manavar and then Bagh. Another theory says few families of "Khatri" community from "Bherogarh" Village near Ujjain migrated to Manavar and then Bagh in search of new market to continue the tradition of hand block printing. 

National awardee late Ismail Sulemanji Khatri made this art of hand blocks printing famous by experimenting with urban outfits and variety of designs. Before 1960 hand block printers from Bagh were known as alizarin printers because of use of alizarin in the process but today they are famous as Bagh printers due to geographical uniqueness associated with the craft. In 2009 it got geographical indication from the government of India.

Bagru print is also a famous hand block printing technique done in Bagru village of Rajasthan situated on Jaipur-Ajmer highway 30 kilometers away from Jaipur. Here also alizarin printing is done which got Geographical Indication for its local specialty. Printing is done in off white background. 


In Bagru alizarin gives a beautiful brick red shade. It is one of the oldest hand block printing center in Rajasthan where still traditional hand block printing techniques mainly Dabu printing is practiced along with alizarin hand block print. "Chhippa Community" of Bagru associate themselves with the tradition and lineage of "Sant Namdev" tailor by profession and one of the famous saint of "Bhakti tradition" in India lived during 13th century.


Ummedpura-Tarapur village of Madhya Pradesh alizarin hand block printing is also practiced. They are still using “Kath” (Vegetable black color) using jiggery powder and iron rust instead of “kashish” (Readymade vegetable black color) now commonly used to prepare black color. It is a very small village situated on the banks of “Ghambhiri” river having population of 2500 to 3000.
Tarapur is 270 kilometers away from Indore the industrial capital of Madhya Pradesh. For red color first alum as mordant is printed using tamarind seed powder paste and then dyed with alizarin. Now a day synthetic alizarin is used unlike 50 years ago roots of morinda tinctoria were used. Here alizarin gives beautiful maroon red shade.

Alizarin print mal cotton from Tarapur

“Chippa” community is practicing the craft of hand block printing in Tarapur since 400 years, who claims to belong to the lineage of Sant Namdev, a famous saint of “Bhakti tradition” in India. 10-15 years back some 30-40 families of “Chippa community” were involved in this craft restricted to the 3-4 families today. It’s all due to tough competition from the chemical screen printing and imitating of designs by machine printers selling it at cheaper prices than hand block printing. But they are still following the traditional methods in preparing the fabrics using semi-vegetable colors.


To purchase sarees or fabrics you can explore ecofab 

Ajrakh in India: Two different school of thoughts

One of the most mystical colorful and oldest known technique of hand block printing is Ajrakh. We already discussed about the history and ...