Dabu, Woodblock Printing and Happee Scarves

January 31, 2016

Dabu, Woodblock Printing and Happee Scarves

Peacock block print

One of the block prints used in our scarves

 

Last year around September, we decided to honor the Rajasthani heritage by creating scarves with dabu and woodblock printing, famous at the small town of Bagru, an erstwhile sleepy and desolate village on the Jaipur-Ajmer Road in Rajasthan, which is also the cynosure of many fashion houses and boutiques. We arbitrated to call some of the artisans from this place. To our surprise we found an artist named Kunjbihari, who's into this business from innumerable decades. Both his sons help him in the ancient craft of block printing. 

A few days later we visited his workplace, which was really in a adverse condition ( Not even the walls were plastered and no flooring at all ) with some rural women doing block printing under very low light and two guys making vegetable dyes. However, when we met him and discussed about our products, he left us in awe. Wearing a white vest, with a bright smile, he said " Bhaiya aap jo design doge, sab hojaega, aur jitna quantity bologe, hum bana denge" which means he would do any design as all he wanted was for us to be Happee and help him getting his art to a larger audience and make some profits. We decided to work with him, purely out of emotions and the dedication he showed towards his work.

We started casually talking to him about block printing and the art work, where he told us that this ancient and exotic art form had taken a back seat due to western influence and globalisation. Many Chhippas ( Block print artists) have given up the art of hand block printing as people have adopted modern and synthetic textiles. There are only a handful of craftsmen who swear by the beauty of the art form and equate their work to worship. The working conditions are worse as there is no proper support from the government. At the entire town there is not a water treatment plant and chemical water is releasing through municipal council drainages line towards the end of town.

 We were really touched by the conditions in which they work and live, so we decided to add some block printed scarves to our collection in a near future. After almost 2 months, in November last year, we decided to make some Happee scarves using block print and dabu print which are completely different from each other.

In Block Print,  the wooden block is carefully prepared as a relief pattern, which means the areas to show 'white' are cut away with a knife, chisel, or sandpaper leaving the characters or image to show in 'black' at the original surface level. The block was cut along the grain of the wood. It is necessary only to ink the block and bring it into firm and even contact with the paper or cloth to achieve an acceptable print. 

 

Rural Women doing block printing
Craftswoman doing block printing

White block print scarf

The Happee scarf with block print

 

Dabu Print starts with the preparation of mud, by finely sieving it. Calcium hydroxide (Chuna in Hindi), naturally pounded wheat chaff (Beedan in hindi), and gum (gound in hindi) are the main ingredients to make the mud resist. The dug out mud from the dry pond is soaked in water in a separate tank overnight. The mud resist is freshly prepared before every printing. A mixture of beedan and gound are along with mud are doughed to make a sticky paste. This paste is then block printed into the fabric.

Dabu print in processMud print on the fabric ( for dabu print)

Later on, the fabric is dipped in natural indigo dye, in tanks which go as deep as 9 feet below the ground. 
dying fabric with indigo Dying the Fabric with indigo dye

 

As final result, the part of the fabric which was covered in mud does not dye, being kept in its original color, and giving a beautiful contrast between the natural indigo blue and the white print.

dabu print after drying

Dabu Print fabric after drying
happee scarf with dabu print
The Happee scarf with dabu print
dabu print
The elephant print made with dabu technique
The best part about using this art work was that they use natural dyes of earthy hues, added to that, natural colouring agents such as alum, turmeric, pomegranate, dried flowers, indigo, etc are used to add colorful designs and motifs to the fabric. Blue from indigo, green from indigo mixed with pomegranate rinds, red from madder root and yellow from turmeric. It can’t get any eco-friendlier than this.

This is why these scarves are an epitome of shear art and pure beauty in the Happee fashion world.

At Happee, we believe in creating a happier world, by helping people who need it and providing amazing lifestyle products handcrafted by local artisans of India.

You can find our scarves here




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Size Chart

In case you have any doubt regarding which size you should purchase, kindly follow these steps to measure your foot, then check on the table below, the size which corresponds to the length of your foot in centimeters.

1. Standing up, place a sheet of paper under your foot. Draw the outline with a pencil.

2. With a measuring tape or ruler, measure the length of the foot, from the heel to the tip of the biggest toe.

 

   BALLERINA SHOES
COUNTRY SIZE

UK/INDIA

5

5.5

6

6.5

7

7.5

 

EUROPE

38

38/39

39

39/40

40

41

 

BRAZIL*

36

36.5

37

37.5

38

39

 

US

7

7.5

8

8.5

9

9.5

 

CENTIMETERS (FOOT) 23.8 24.1 24.6 25.1 25.4 25.9

 

   MOJARI SHOES
COUNTRY SIZE

UK/INDIA

3

4

5

6

7

8

 

EUROPE

35

36

37

38

39

40

 

BRAZIL*

33

34

35

36

37

38

 

US

4

5

6

7

8

9

 

CENTIMETERS 21,3 22,2 23 23,8 24,6 25,4

 

*The Brazilian sizes are already converted in the Portuguese version of the website.

*Our ballerinas fit the foot comfortably. Mojaris, however, are a type of shoe which are naturally a little tighter, as they adjust to the foot upon wearing.

*This chart may vary a little from other charts, as there is no international standard for shoe sizes.

*In case you still have any doubts regarding your size, send us an email at info@iamhappee.com, we will revert back ASAP. :)

 

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