Art comes in every shape and form. Most of the times, the type of art that is used on fabrics has mostly been placid with no back story. But that’s where Kalamkari makes a difference. The beauty of this technique is that –
- It is a 23 steps process
- It tells a story by the means of art
It brings pieces of patterns and stories together and makes a perfect balance of design and storytelling on fabric. It is a quite popular art in the states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. This art is not only popular in these states, but all over India because of its extraordinary appeal.
Credits: Farida Gupta
The art of Kalamari is an ancient practice and it is done using hand printing. The craftsmen use a tamarind pen to make designs on cotton or silk fabric. The word has been coined from a Persian word called “Kalam” which means a pen and “Kari” which means craftsmanship. A total of 23 steps are required to be followed to make the art of Kalamkari come to life. These steps are dyeing, bleaching, hand painting, block-printing, starching, cleaning, fixation and more. Kalamkari represents Motifs like peacock, flora, and depictions from Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharta. You can trace its history back to the 18th century and was also discovered at historical places like Mohenjo-daro.
The process to create Kalamkari
There are 23 steps to create a dynamic Kalamkari print. The process starts with the fabric bleaching stage, softening it, drying it and then preparing natural dyes. Then it is hand-painted using the tamarind pen, air-dried and at last, washed. It is a very detailed process and needs special attention.
The fabric used is first treated with a solution of bleach and cow dung. The fabric is kept in the solution for a few hours to give it a uniform off white colour. After this, the fabric is drenched into a mixture of buffalo milk and Mybrobalans to avoid the smudging of dyes. Then the fabric is washed to remove buffalo milk. The fabric is washed again for the other twenty times and then sun-dried. At last, the fabric gets ready for the painting. Diverse designs and motifs are drawn on the fabric to give it the final touch.
Types of Kalamkari
Srikalahasti and Machilipatnam are the two prominent Kalamkari styles in India. The Machilipatnam style, the designs are printed using traditional hand-carved blocks but the details are painted using hands. While in Srikalahasti style, the designs are inspired by the Hindu mythologies. Scenes from the legends and folklore are drawn on the fabrics.
With time, two more new styles of Kalamkari emerged in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. The Andhra Kalamkari is inspired by historical places of India like palaces and temples and from flora and fauna. On the other hand, the Gujarati Kalamkari depicts the characters from mythologies like Krishna-Arjun, Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha, etc. One of the reasons, it is highly regarded by the temples.
Artless believes that is our traditional designs are too elegant and too remarkable and that’s why we create fabrics that carry these designs forward. For the new generation should acknowledge these designs and prints and this kind of art should be promoted. We want our customers to know the thought process behind every fabric and the reason why we decided to follow the traditional fashion over fast fashion.