Gujarat Blockprinting Technique

Using resists & mordants with natural dyes

A special and intensive 3-day class with Kamaldeep Kaur (India).
We will be working on both cotton and silk fabrics.

A special workshop based on resistprinting using natural dyes to colour the fabric. This is a very traditional practice in Gujarat and is done by only a handful of artisan. Kamaldeep has been working with them for about 15 years and masters this technique herself. She has added her own style to this and thus the blocks she uses are often more contemporary  or simpler compared to the very complex ones used by the traditional craft communities.

The actual process when done in India takes about 1 month, leaving the fabric in the heat outside for a day after each step as each colour needs time to develop. Here – in Holland – we need to use another heat source to set the colour.

The first stage of the process is the washing and preparing of the cloth, which must be done thoroughly. We will use Indian cotton and silk during our class – already washed and treated with myrobalan, a local tannine – to speed up the processs SO That we can start with the printing immediately the first day, resulting in a white preservation.

Next step is to prepare a black colour and print with this. The black is prepared using iron ferroussulphate as a dye/mordant.

After this we could dye or continue to print with another mordant such as alum.

The more mordants we use, the more colours we will get. This also means that the number of blocks used on the fabric will increase. As well as the duration of the process.

For dyeing we will use pomegranate for a yellow, madder for red, cutch for brown and ferroussulphate for black. Normally Indigo is then the last colour but this will be too much for a 3-day class.

Students are welcome to create samples of the colours and mordants/prints to make a log book themselves as well as to make larger pieces to take home with them.

Of course a hand out will be given to each student, made by Kamaldeep to cover the basic information.

Students can bring their own printing blocks or buy original Indian blocks from the tutor. Prices vary depending on size and design. Those who are interested in getting these blocks kindly inform us when signing up. Traditionally each set of blocks has 3 or 4 pieces to make a complete design. (Your tutor will bring one set to demonstrate and some extra) Also borders can be printed instead of an overall design, which is cheaper and also less labour intensive. So blocks will be available for sale as it is difficult to take them back but pre ordering is welcomed.

Note: 4 metres of Indian cotton and 2 metres of Indian silk, both prewashed and pretreated are included in the workshop fee.

There will be a labfee for dyes, printpaste and chemicals used to be paid during class (cash or pin)

At the right side & below images from Kamaldeep's artwork / collection
plus 1 image of traditional blocks and work:


list of materials to bring will follow and/or emailed to you after registration/enrolment is confirmed.