This is a particular style of printing associated with western India
and the Sind region of Pakistan from which it probably originated.
production comes from the Kutch region of Gujurat ( recently devastated
by the earthquake) and from the western end of Rajasthan: just two
small family units who have been Ajrakh printers for several
is a combination of printing with line blocksand by applying colour by
dipping after resist printing; the colour palette is usually limited to
alizarin red, indigo and black. Designs containing red and indigo are
resist printed separately for each colour and dipped twice; the whole
process involves 13 stages; they are inevitably more expensiveto
produce but the result is a wonderful depth of colour not achievable
with surface printing. We have managed to add a dark green which is
achieved by a further dipping in a dye made from pomegranate shells and
also a version of pale gold.
BAGH – A
small remote village in central India in which two families produce
these magnificent geometric compositions. Hand block printed with great
precision and imagination they have mastered the art of juxtaposing a
wide variety of design elements. The printers are accustomed to working
with red and black natural colours only. Whilst the colour palette is
very limited they take extra care in the cloth preparation and
finishing which involves 15 separate process stages. The tangible
results are good print definition, good solid colour and a pleasing
supple handle to the cloth.
Some of the special composition prints in our range, which are built from a series of very small blocks contain over 1300
separate block impressions in a double bedspread.
– This small but immensely productive village near Jaipur contains a
large community of printers. The skills of the Bagru printers were
patronised by the Jaipur court over 200 years ago, they are probably
the best known and most easily recognised designs in our range. The
Bagru printers are the most accessible to the outside world and have
been exposed to a variety of outside influences and have adopted many
different styles into their wide repertoire using their own traditional
techniques. These are among our simplest and most inexpensive prints
and can be produced in relatively large quantities.
BALOTRA – A
series of Dabu prints from Rajasthan. Dabu is an old form of resist
printing where the design is block printed with a mix of natural
gum and sawdust. The printed cloth is then fully immersed in a large
cauldron of dye, usually indigo or the local "home brew" black. The
cloth is dipped several times until the desired shade is achieved and
then dried. The resist is then washed off to reveal the undyed part of
the cloth as the pattern. Some colour penetrates under the resists and
results in the characteristic veining perhaps more usually associated
with resist printed Batiks
Originally a Persian word meaning "drawing on cloth". Whilst the
technique probably existed several centuries before, the style as
we know it today emerged from the great craft schools that
sprang up under the patronage of the Moghul emperors about three
centurie ago. The style much favoured by the Moghul courts was adopted
by the printing communities on the Coramandel coast of south east India
and most of the production is now hand block printed by a small number
of family groups in and around the old fishing port of Masulipatam.
block printing is a much faster method of production than hand painting
each piece it is still laborious and involves the use of a large number
of blocks for each design.
intricate designs, the elaborate borders and the innate understanding
of balanced composition has given Kalamkari a well deserved place in
the evolution of printed design. It is a popular idiom and one of the
most widely imitated styles of Indian printing. Real Kalamkari is
however rather more subtle than most of the imitations.
Contemporary production retains much of the original fine detail
and only vegetable dyes are used. A bewildering repertoire of nuts,
bark, roots and flowers combined with the unique character of natural
vegetable indigo gives the Kalamkari printer his own special palette of
colours and we have given our printer every possible encouragement to
continue producing fine quality workmanship.
IKAT AND TIE DYES
These are both forms of tie
dyeing but the application of the basic technique and the finished results are very different.
IKAT – is
the commonly used word to describe a method of yarn resist dyeing and
the basic process is known to have existed in India for at least 1500
years. Bundles of yarn are tightly bound with threads or strips of
rubber to cover the areas that will eventually form the pattern. After
tying the yarn is fully immersed in a dye bath where the dye penetrates
the exposed yarn and leaves the protected areas undyed. For multicolour
effects the process is repeated. When rinsed and dried the ties are
removed and the yarn is fed on to the loom in a strictly controlled
order ready for weaving. This basic process is simple enough but is
extremely time consuming; a well controlled pattern requires great
skill and attention to detail. Once set up, the weaving of a warp Ikat
is simple and fast. Although there are virtually endless pattern
opportunities working with a tie-dyed warp the maximum effect of this
technique is achieved by tie-dyeing both warp and weft. This doubles
the amount of tie-dyeing and slows down the weaving as the weaver has
to adjust virtually every weft insertion to ensure a good pattern
the Indian word for the more basic form of tie-dye. Small areas of
plain cloth are tightly bound with cotton thread; the cloth is then
immersed in a dye bath and after drying, the ties are removed to reveal
the pattern formed by the contrast between the dyed and undyed areas.
This process is one of the oldest and widely practised methods of
applying pattern and colour to textiles. Examples have been found in
South America dating back to the first century BC and there is some
evidence that the method was practised in Asia several centuries before
many techniques there are interpretations and much of the current
production is very specifically produced for the Indian home market. We
started working with a small family unit with a view to developing a
selection of patterns that we think will have wider acceptance. This is
probably the most labour intensive of all the products in our range and
our prices have to reflect the costs of this intricate work.
APPLIQUE and EMBROIDERY
of this work is carried out by the womenfolk of various villages in
Gujarat and western Rajasthan. Working at home and surrounded by
children, chickens and goats this is a very real cottage industry.all
of the work is hand sewn and the applique pieces are all hand cut.
The word durry is a
phonetic approximation of a Hindi/Urdu word describing a woven cotton rug or mat.
They are all hand woven and traditionally use the tapestry style of weaving where the pattern is achieved by colour
contrasts in the weft.
wide variety of designs and qualities are possible and consequently a
huge variation in prices. This sometimes seems surprising when they are
all classified as durries. Costs vary according to weight, quality of
raw materials, intricacy of pattern and of course size.
is very easy and tempting to make cheap durries; however the market is
very saturated at this level and we have concentrated on design,
quality and good colouring. We use only fast colours, the best quality
yarns available and highly skilled weavers.
Our " top-end" durries are in terms of quality and consistency as good as any to be found on the
market and are exclusive to The Indian Collection.
At the other end of the scale are our low cost simple designs which have great texture and represent great value.