Mo Maya Mantra:
Be sustainable, love the planet and work with local individual artisans in developing economies.
Every sarong, scarf and fabric in our conscious collection is made with 100% natural fabrics and 100% natural dyes. Our organic cotton sarongs, cotton silk scarves and silk kaftans/dresses are handmade by skilled artisans in a village an hour from Jaipur, Rajasthan. This village of about 200 people has individual artisans and families blockprinting for over 100 years, passing these unique skills from one generation to another. We work with different artisans for different steps involved in the making of our collection.
The fabric is first dipped in a powder made from a root vegetable “harda” (myrobalan). This gives our natural fabric a yellowish color.
Once dried, the fabric is then washed and prepared for block printing. The artisans carve wooden blocks with our designs. These wooden blocks are washed and dried for several days before they are ready to use. Then the fun starts!
Block-printing with carved wooden blocks -
Mud-printing (Dabu) – Artisans use a mixture made from local black clay to print on raw fabric
The fabric is sprinkled with reusable sawdust, which helps in quick drying, while avoiding the print from sticking to each other. The fabric is further left of drying in the sun.
Once dried, the artisans dip the fabric in natural dyes, which are usually made by the next-door neighbour to the block printer.
Despite working with these artisans for a long time, it still blows our mind how amazing is this art of using natural dyes from plants. Some families also use these plants for Ayurvedic medicinal purposes. You never know the final color a plant would give you. Here is how we get our colors:
Yellow – Pomegranate fruit ring (see image below)
Reds/Pinks/Nude – Indian madder and (flowering plant) and alum
Grey – Manju Phal tree with iron mordant (see below)
Black – Paste made from rusted iron, horseshoe nails and old jaggery (see image below)
Once dyed or printed using these natural dyes, the fabric is then dried in the communal area that all the surrounding families use for drying fabric, playing cricket, chatting until the monsoons arrive and everything quiets down.
At the end of all the hard labour, we get to see some extraordinary things!