Now that we are settled in in Vermont, I can finally start sharing some of the things I brought back from India. Ajrakh printing is a type of block printing done in Kutch and the neighboring community of Sindh, Pakistan. Rather than printing with dyes like other types of block printing, they print with resists and then do an immersion dye, meaning that once it is dipped in dye the area that was block printed will remain white. This is a much more labor-intensive method of block printing, but the results are incredible, with such deep colors and intricate designs.
Ajrak is traditionally done with natural dyes, meaning there is a limited color palette of blue, red, purple, black, yellow and green. The photos above are of a few antique printing blocks I bought in Kutch. The square geometric designs are the traditional Ajrakh patterns, and the rectangular floral block could have come from a different area or been influenced by outside designs.
While we were in Kutch, I worked with a local Ajrakh printer to have some of my designs printed with natural dyes, which is a project I am so excited about! They are still in the process of being printed now, but the finished pieces will be ready by the end of May. I can't wait to see how they turned out, and to share them here. Below are a few patterns I picked up along the way, including a few by the printer I worked with to print my designs: