IndiGo by Malou van der Molen

As a blue inkblot the idea slowly grew and after a first encounter with Lipika in January the plan was finally made. Making prints with my own designs in different shades of indigo at a small studio. A wish fulfilled. India > Go!

Lipika linked me to a small block printing workshop in Rajasthan, where they have been practicing the century old block printing technique named dabu, printing with mud. Getting your hands dirty and making! I love it! I have been experimenting with different blocks and layers of blue on top of each other. Every time I wonder, what the result will be. It is only after the final wash that I will know the outcome.

The workshop was like going back in time: between the cooing pigeons, breeding in old boxes with wooden printing blocks from times gone by. Lungs dusty due to sawdust. Jointly coughing to the rhythm of printing with blocks. The self made wooden carts pulled around with wooden stamps and mud cushions. Splashes of blue, red and mud everywhere.

With my ‘temporary’ colleagues we laughed, communicated with thumbs ups’ and checked out pictures on each other’s phones. We used google translate and not understand the weird translations. We drank chai together, me as only woman between all those tough guys.


“No Boss, no rules”, Deepak’s words!

The free feeling that you get when you are busy with what you like doing most and when things go as expected. Then I am in my element. I drove through the Rajasthani prairie on my scooter. Unrecognizable wrapped in cloths and helmet, as the locals. Every day I drove to the printing studio, 65 km up and down, more than 1000 km altogether. Every time I was amazed by the many street impressions; groups of men wrapped in woolen blankets, drinking chai around a small fire, mini-trucks loaded with schoolchildren, women with huge brooms sweeping the streets, the shepherds with long sticks and white shirts and trousers, trying to keep their goats together with special sounds, and everywhere cows, dogs, pigs, mice, pigeons and people. 

It is not just working and making new things that made this a special stay. It is especially the insight into Indian culture; the joy, hospitality, helpfulness, but also the resignation or sometimes the laconic view on life which gave me a more relativistic perspective. It will be okay, even if it sometimes does not seem that way.

Next step is to make these products available for a larger audience, so that this blue thread can be continued.

Photo credits: all pictures in this blog post are by Malou van der Molen

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