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Indigo dyeing in Sanganer India

During my short stay in Jaipur, I contacted another of my FB friends, who is a specialist in various textile dye techniques, such as block printing and shibori (tie and dye). Also, he is very knowledgeable about Indigo dyeing.

We drove out to Sanganer, while our driver contacted Brij Ballagh Udaiwal, owner of Shilpi Handicrafts.

Brij met up with us and escorted our vehicle quite a distance outside of town, to his workshop.

He first showed us some mud resist items and gave me the recipe. A new technique for me, which I must try at home. As we walked through the front yard, he also pointed out Indian and some Thai Indigo plants. Brij plans to open an indigo museum in the future.

Indoors was a huge space, with a mud resist washing area and a storage space for silk screens. There was also a large work table and at least 4 smaller vats and a very large Indigo vat. A young man was busy dipping fabric in the vat, while a young lady was clamping cotton fabrics to prepare them for the dye vat.

Once again we went outdoors where there are 4 vats in the ground, some quite small, the other larger.

These were the organic vats whereas the ones indoors were synthetic Indigo vats. The smell of the indigo vat is very unique, a mix of fruit fermenting and something almost metallic.

Before leaving, we looked down into another vat, which is still to be completed. This one is about 27 metres deep, to be used for very large pieces of fabric.

Then, Brij again led the way in his car, to his Haveli.

This is his shop and “mission control.” This beautiful space has been in the family for 500 years. It’s now the home of a fully computerized office area, 2 showrooms and a very grand entryway, full of natural light.

Brij’s family altar, 500 years old

Brij was extremely generous with his time and knowledge. And as a bonus, we were each given a dyed scarf! Dhanyavaad!

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