After coming back from India, I've been working on getting similar results on my block printed fabrics. It's coming along well, with great mistakes! All I need to say is, Sodium bi-carbonate is not the same thing as Sodium Carbonate.
Here are a few pics of the samples taken by the very talented Amar Abdel -Halim.
These samples are of linen fabric gotten from TRAID, London. The fabric was accumulating dust with no buyers, hence it was donated for my project. Lugging it across London was fun, after changing 3 buses and Vedika holding onto the other end of the roll.
The fabric was washed and left overnight in a bath of detergent and soda ash. Next it was dipped in a solution of Harde or myrobalan so that it may produce a better color at the end. Once dried, it was printed on with a mixture of Alum and Tamarind Seed powder. Once dried, it was dipped in a dye bath of Dhavri ka phool, mahi, and Alizarine. Dhavri ka phool and mahi are indian names for different flowers. Alizarine is the synthetic form of madder. The combination of these three gave our fabric a coral coloration, however, we were attempting for Red. After further research, I found out that the PH of the level, if it is too acidic will produce coral colors and hence needs to be neutral to produce the right color. So, the solution to that is adding soda ash to bring the fabric to a neutral PH. With a dash of soda ash, the result was closer to what we wanted. We had gotten a good dark red. The ground however became purple...So the experiment is ongoing.
The darker fabric was first dipped in Iron water before being dipped in the dye bath, hence it has a darker coloration.
Pics of the block in order of development: