Alice and Emmy went to learn blockprinting with natural dyes. It was not the best time for printing – during monsoon. They enjoyed and had a great experience and above all printed beautiful fabrics.
By Emmy van de Grift
I am Emmy van de Grift, studying at the HKU. Currently I am participating in a five month exchange program at Shristhi in Bangalore, India. I am mainly here to learn about rich Indian craft and textile culture. In July we had a week off from school and asked Lipika if she could connect me to craftsmen around Jaipur, who teach block printing.
Lipika organized everything. Together with my clasmate, Alice we arrived in a village close to Jaipur, where Deepak received us. We could start right away. He first explained about the various natural dyes and how they are made. It all seems rather simple, but practicing, experience and patience is required. The first day we developed five colors and learnt to print with these dyes. The second day we printed with mud and indigo dye. Printing with mud, is a printing method, in which the mud is the resist. This means that you print with mud. Once you dye the fabric the printed part remains white, whereas the fabric gets the color of the dyeing bath. On day three and four we dyed the fabric and did the finishing touches. In order to print – WOW- we could choose from a enormous variety of wooden blocks.
Communicating was sometimes difficult, but with gestures and simple language we could manage well. Sometimes we felt that it was rather dusty and dark, also there were many mosquitoes, nevertheless we learnt a lot. Above all we created beautiful fabrics. Overall it was a great experience and we enjoyed it a lot.