At Varnam, we have always attempted to showcase the versatility and adaptability of our traditional crafts to modern times. We also believe that good design ensures sustainable livelihoods for artisans.
DabU is an ancient mud resist hand block printing technique from Rajasthan. The process of DABU printing is quite complicated, involving many workers and multiple stages of printing, washing and dyeing. First, the plain fabric is carefully washed to remove any impurities which may interfere with the dyeing process. Then, designs are meticulously and painstakingly hand printed on to the fabric using blocks which are dipped into fast dyes. The next and crucial step involves the use of the mud resist which makes this print so unique. Ingredients like mud, gum, lime and waste wheat chaff are combined to make the ‘dabu’ or mud resist paste which is then patted over certain parts of the design. The paste is dried with sprinkled sawdust. This covering essentially protects these parts of the fabric from the dye used later on, creating a unique and colorful effect.
After this process of printing, the fabric is spread out in the sun where it completely dries out. It is then dipped into a vat of dye, dried again and finally given a thorough washing to remove the paste and any excess dye. The dyes used are typically natural vegetable dyes and pastes. Thus the unprotected parts of the fabric catch the color while the Dabu covered bits remain plain. The fabric may be dyed more than once in different colors to give each part of the design a different hue.
Sometimes, the mud paste cracks and leaks, creating a distinctive vein like effect similar to Batik.
Please note that the colours of the physical product may vary a bit from the pic.
Handwash in cold water to retain the colours longer. Also due to the handblock printed technique the colour would not be of the exact same consistency on the shirt. That's the natural look of this handblock print.