Dabu printing or Mud-resist printing, an ancient hand block printing technique, practised in the Indian State of Rajasthan, is a craft which is believed to have originated in India in the 8th century AD, and utilizes the timeless raw materials - mud and water. The process gets its name from the Hindi word 'dabaana', which means 'to press'. It is essentially a labor intensive technique, and involves various steps of printing and dyeing. The native craftsmen, who specialize in this technique, are known as Chippas, and are majorly settled in the remote areas of the Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan.
The fabric to be printed is first carefully washed to remove any impurities, so that the printing can be done smoothly. The motifs or designs are then accurately printed on the fabric, using the appropriate wooden blocks, dipped into a thick paste of mud, bidan or wheat powder (which helps improve the adhesiveness of the paste on the fabric), gum, and lime. It is then covered with sawdust, which prevents the colour from penetrating to the sections of the fabric where mud has been applied, while dyeing. It also ascertains that the areas of fabric with mud resist do not stick to each other. The fabric is then kept for drying under the sun. After it is completely dry, the fabric is taken for dyeing, which is done using natural colours. Colours like indigo, grey-brown (which is called 'Kashish'), and yellows and reds extracted from fruits like pomegranate, are used for traditional Dabu printing. After it is dyed, the fabric is again kept for drying. In case the fabric requires double dabu print, mud resist is again applied to the dyed and dried fabric, and the entire process of Dabu printing is repeated. Finally, the fabric is washed thoroughly, and dried, which is then ready to be turned into beautiful products.
BHAILI's journey into traditional crafts began with the DABU print. It is the first traditional craft that the brand worked upon. With knowledge from the internet, and a few known contacts, the founders of the brand began their journey to Rajasthan, to gain more insight and practical knowledge of one of the ancient skills of India. After innumerous trips to the state and meetings with the artisans, and collecting sufficient information about the printing process, they finally decided on going ahead with utilising the craft in the process of manufacturing BHAILI's products.
You must know that the block designs which get printed for BHAILI are all exclusive to the brand. Once the block design gets approved, the blocks get made in those designs, which are then sent for printing to the concerned artisans, who handprint them on the required fabric.
For Dabu itself, Bhaili is indirectly connected with about 50 artisans at the ground level.
It is immensely satisfying for the team when a brand is involved to the core of its product making. That is what makes BHAILI truly authentic.