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Article: The Ancient Art of Dabu

The Ancient Art of Dabu

The Ancient Art of Dabu

Our latest AW24 drop features a collection of stunning fabrics created using an intensive printing process called Dabu (Daboo).
Dabu is a traditional mud-resistant printing technique originating in Rajasthan. This age-old technique was almost lost during the 20th century and has been revived and become a flourishing businesses for families who have handed down the knowledge through many generations.
This type of hand block printing is labour-intensive and includes many stages of washing and printing, however the results after such hard work are beautiful and unique.
The making of Dabu printed fabric requires time, but also relies on the weather, and so can only be produced during certain times of the year when it is warm but not humid.
The fabric is pre washed and soaked for a day to remove dirt and oils. Once dry, a smooth paste is prepared using a recipe of clay, gum, wheat powder and lime water. The wooden block with the print design carved into it is dipped into the paste and pressed onto the fabric by hand, creating the continuous pattern. Sawdust is sprinkled over the fabric to avoid smudging and it is laid out to dry under the sun.
The fabric is then dipped in vats of natural dyes, with the printed and dried paste resisting the colour, and again left in the sun to dry.
Traditional Dabu prints, are made using natural dyes such as indigo, turmeric and pomegranate.
Depending on the number of colours in the print, these processes are repeated with different wooden blocks to create the unique design. The fabric is again washed and dried, to remove the paste, and the stunning colours are revealed!
ella & sunday have produced a selection of must have styles in the lovely Lotus & Ikebana prints - Apollo Shirt, Sara Top, Asha Maxi and Amari Maxi with shirring elastic detail.
Our Apple Dress in Autumn Leaves is also made using this same technique.
View the collection here.