Suraj Narayan Titanwala, an Everyman ‘Chhipa’ Printer from Bagru dreamt a big dream.
The dream of establishing a one-of-a-kind Textile Museum that would curate his unique collection of vintage blocks, heritage textiles and ancient vessels used in the traditional process of Hand Block Printing with natural dyes and colors.
This dream was realized on 25 February 2019 when Union Textiles Minister, Ms. Smriti Z Irani inaugurated the museum and it officially opened for the public.
Block printing made its international fashion debut in the West by marking its presence in the fashion bible, Vogue (UK) in 1971 and soon became a sensation around the world.
This time and labor-intensive style of printing continues to be practiced by very few families today. The Titanwalas are one such family where age-old techniques are handed down from generation to generation. Presently, the father (Suraj Narayan Titanwala) and son (Deepak Titanwala) actively devote every waking hour to the practice.
Until the late 20th century, block printers sold their creations at a weekly market, called a ‘Hathwada’. Their creations were spotted by Hiroko Iwatate from Japan who was charmed by the fine workmanship and introduced them to buyers like Faith Singh of ‘Anokhi’ who continues to buy from them till this day.
Over the years, the Titanwala Bhawan has attracted international collectors, designers, retailers and enthusiasts like Prince Charles. Many designers such as Hiroko Iwatate, Yumi Masumoto Gaya, Faith Singh of ‘Anokhi’ and Behroze Singh of ‘Cottons’ have also collaborated with the duo.
What sets the museum apart is the actual process of preparing the dyes, the act of dyeing, printing, washing and drying all on display as the Titanwalas go about their work.
They also offer workshops where one can get a guided tour of the space and its activities, followed by a hands-on experience of the same. One can also buy signature Bagru prints from them.
On the occasion of the launch, the Minister commended the efforts made by Suraj Narayan Titanwala and said that this initiative was a shining example of how the preservation of Art & Culture is not dependent on Government aid and support. She emphasized that a sense of community and brotherhood amongst Everyman Indians can help achieve any goal that one sets their mind to.
The museum is open from 9 am – 6 pm, from Monday to Sunday and should be a Must Visit item on everyone’s itinerary during a trip to Jaipur.