Studying Ajrakh Printing with Masters from India…


Keyword is amazing. It’s hard to even think of any other words to describe my past week in Vancouver studying Ajrakh printing with masters Abdul Jabbar Khatri and his son Adam Khatri.  When I signed up for this class I had no idea what Ajrakh printing was. I have experience with printing with thickened dyes, and thickened mordants…mostly from playing around in my studio and teaching a workshop last spring on the subject.  This technique was seriously mind blowing. Complex, yet when I look back…simple. Except I still have to check my notes to see if we washed out the thickened alum prints before we put them in the dye bath.  We covered so much information.

We made a lot of different thick goo’s and them printed them onto the fabric using our sets of 4 blocks that word together. We were printing resists on, iron on and alum on.  Then we painted over some pieces using thickened alum and thickened iron.


iron solution 

We made the iron solution with a rusted chain.

7 Kilo Rusty Iron

500g Jaggery

25g Chickpea Flour

18L Water

leave for 10 days in warm weather, 30 days in cool weather.

Once the iron solution was ready we thickened it with this recipe

400g Tamarind Paste

10L Iron Water (above)

mix slowly, cook high heat, boil, boil, stir constantly until doubled in size, then turn off heat. This takes approximately 1 hour.


printing with thickened iron

So yeah there was a lot of recipes and I will save those in my notebook forever. When I have some free time, I will try to recreate my own version of what we learned, based on the recipes they shares and my color interests.

What we did first was print with Thickened Resist, then with thickened iron and then with thickened alum (which worked as both a resist to Indigo and a mordant to Madder)


Then once we had all the printed pieces we painted thickend alum over some, and thickened iron over others. Then we over dyed everything in dye baths of Indigo, Madder, Rhubarb, Rhubarb + Turmeric, Eupotorium and Tamariska.

Behold. Our finished pieces were gorgeous. I still can’t believe how much we covered in five days.

I am teaching a class related to what I just learned, called Printing with Thickened Dyes. It will be held in Gibson’s, BC on the weekend of October 14 + 15 2017. I hope that you will join the class if you are someone who is interested in learning how to use natural dye for stamping, silkscreening and stenciling on fabric. Register here.

I am totally converted and committed in my studio now to using natural dyes on my fabrics…I am giving away all my fibre reactive dyes, and using up all my silk painting dyes on some special orders. Then my first challange will be a hand painted chakra scarf. I have some big ideas of how I can manage it using some of the knowledge I gained last week and plants that really match up with the chakra’s themselves. plant magic!!

Oh and in Vancouver the Khatri’s had an art exhibit of their gorgeous, huge Ajrakh prints. Some of them are double sided. These are a few pictures from the exhibition.



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