विरासत means heritage. India has an age-old legacy of using natural dyes in creating handcrafted textiles. EcoFab is putting its efforts in research and development to recreate that old legacy of use of natural dyes in traditional craft of hand block printing.
In this series we have created this master piece in Bagh print hand block printing technique which is practiced in Bagh village of Madhya Pradesh. Bagh print is a mordant printing technique. In mordant block printing technique a kind of natural binder known as mordant is printed on the fabric which allows dyes to get absorbed by the fabric while dyeing. Alum and iron two mordants are printed on the fabric and then dyed with Manjishtha (Indian Madder) formula re-invented by EcoFab to get red color in place of alum print. Black color is a result of iron mordant and myrobalan dye combination become fixed in this process of madder dyeing.
To get the background golden yellow, saree is dyed with “Parijaat” also known as “Harsingar” flowers native to India a source of herbal and natural dye. Parijaat flowers are used in Ayurveda to cure diseases related to stomach and body pain. Before dyeing it with Parijaat flowers it was mordanted with plant based mordant known as Lodhra (Symplocos). Lodhra tree naturally absorb the aluminum content from soil and stored it in its bark and leaves.
Mention of Lodhra is there in AtharvVed as a source of mordant and natural dye. It is also mentioned in Valmiki Ramayan as one of the pious tree. In “Kautilya’s Arthashastra” Lodhra is mentioned as “Rangbandha” which means mordant for dyeing with red color based dyes.
It is printed and dyed on Maheshwari handloom silk by cotton with tissue pallu. Maheshwari is a weaving technique developed in Maheshwar town of Madhya Pradesh having 350 years of legacy and history of royal patronage. Devi Maa Ahilya Bai Holkar the then queen of Maheshwar invited weavers from Gujarat and Maharashtra to Maheshwar to weave sarees for gifting purpose.
P.S.: In hand block printing and hand dyeing with natural dyes little dye color variation and imperfection is there, which is a mark of its handmade.