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Nandana Prints

The women of Bhil tribe carried their prized tradition wherever they went be it in the plateaus of Madhya Pradesh or desert of Rajasthan or the Kutchh. They always got a new inspiration from the place and added it in their Ghagra and Odhni, the attire collectively known as Nandna prints with the designed motifs. This fabric was worn by all the women of this tribe because of it being comfortable in activities like farming which was also the reason for the dark colored fabric. Each design of the garment was worn during different phases of life. In places like Kukshi, Thikri and Dharampuri, block printing was in practice and they catered to the Adivasis’needs. The cotton would be coarse and patterns mostly raw. The craft is more than two hundred years old and has gone through various reforms making them exclusive.

After spreading the cloth, the blocks used for printing are dipped in alum paste and pressed on the fabric after which the fabric is dried in sun. It is then boiled in Alizarin and Dhawdi ka phool  to keep the color of Alizarin from spreading. After this, the fabric is dried without washing and then dipped in a solution of water and gum. Then they are printed with mud and smeared with wood dust to increase the strength. Indigo color is most favored by them because of their belief of the color being auspicious and having the power to turn anything into natural. The process takes about a month and requires skilled workers. The method is very labor-intensive and the patters and designs keep changing depending on the market.

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