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

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Tarapur Print: A Craft Jewel of Madhya Pradesh

Background 

Ummedpura-Tarapur twin villages situated on the banks of "Maa" Gambhiri river in Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh. It is a twin village demarcated by a bridge made on the river were famous for its 400 years or even older than this craft of Nandana hand block printing practiced in these two villages only by traditional "Hindu Chippa" community belongs to the Sant Namdev tradition supported by "Muslim Nilger" community famous for indigo dyeing. 

Limited to tribal market, laborious process, limited design and color combination,  and increasing cost of nandana print was the reason behind decrease in demand too. It was clearly an indication for them to do something new or stop the work. Many families stopped their traditional work of nandana 2 decades ago and started other business. Few families still continued their family tradition with concern for future of their tradition. While they were in dilemma to continue the craft or not few started searching for new markets and possibilities to innovate the existing techniques. In this time less than 10 families were left in this business who were practicing nandana hand block printing and sometimes other techniques of hand block printing. 

Tarapur print mal cotton stole

In this struggle period some 3 decades ago few exporters contacted hand block printer family of Late Shri Purushottamji Jhariya for indigo and different design combination in red and indigo color. Though they were doing it since ages but not commercially marketed well and it is how a new technique of block printing evolved.

In this technique they started concentrating on use of alizarin print (red and black) combining with indigo Indigo dabu work to get a red. black and indigo blue color combination with variety of block designs. 

They started calling this technique as "Alizer-Indigo" technique to differentiate it.

Tarapur print modal by modal Saree

Marketing as Tarapur print


When Pushyamitra co-founder of EcoFab started working with the family of Late Shri Purushottamji Jhariya in Tarapur some 3 years ago while doing his thesis started documenting the various techniques practiced by the 2 families left in this place comes to know about 4 techniques practiced by them were:

1. Alizarin print (Red & black) 

2. Dabu print (Resist techniques and mainly dyed with indigo)

3. Alizer Indigo print (Combination of Alizarin red and black & Dabu indigo)

4. Nandana print (Traditional signature craft of hand block printing)

Tarapur as a craft village and home to a varieties of craft of hand block printing was facing an identity crisis. Bagh and Bagru villages were already famous for its unique alizarin hand block printing depicting their geographical identity. Then it was decided by Pushyamitra with Jhariya borthers (Pawan Jhariya & Banwari Jhariya) to market this unique combination of alizarin print and dabu print as "Tarapur Print" in the market.

It is how name of Tarapur print came into existence. Today Tarapur print evolved as an important hand block printing technique and quite famous among craft lovers. 

 Tarapur print fine cotton Saree

 Tarapur print fine cotton Saree

Process

Process of Tarapur print is time consuming and laborious too as it is a combination of two different hand block printing known as Alizarin printing and Dabu printing. 

Fabric is first treated with a solution of soda ash, castor oil and sea salt now a days a ready combination known as TRO (turkey red oil) is available in the market is used. After this pre washing treatment fabric is dyed with harda (myrabalan) solution then it is ready for printing with alum mordant and paste made of iron rust and jaggery solution mixed with tamarind seed powder. 

Shri Pawan Jhariya doing washing process after alizarin printing

After printing it is kept for 2-3 days then washed in flowing river or in tank then it is dyed with alizarin using bhatti (boiling) process. After bhatti process fabric again printed with resist paste made from clay, gum and lime to hide red portion and where we need white design in base now fabric is dyed with indigo an kept for a day. After washing and post mordant fabric is ready to market.

Shri Banwari Jhariya seeing his printed clothes in Tarapur Print


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