Hello all,

Sorry for posting in late today. It was mainly because I was so engraved into finding out more about crafts of India.

Here is a throwback in 2011. This was the first time I ever explored a whole state just to know more about the art & culture of that state.

The journey started from Calico Museum and here on we begin with our learning for textiles, their manufacturing & various art forms of textiles.Check out the most interesting ones below –

1 Kalamkari—kalamkari refers to the method of painting of natural dyes onto a cotton or silk fabric with a bamboo pen or “kalam”.The name Kalamkari translates as pen(kalam) and work(kari) in Hindi and was most likely derived from trade relationships between Persian and Indian merchants as early as 10th centuryCE. European merchants also had names for this type of fabric decoration : the Portuguese called it Pint ado, the Dutch used the name Sitz , and the British preferred Chintz.It is practised in Sri Kalahasti ,Andhra Pradesh and in Gujrat and Tamil Nadu The trip was conducted from 31st January was to study the techniques and skill development in different Indian embroideries, appliqué work, patch work and weaving.

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Step wise teaching of the process of Kalamkari. They are super expert in drawing the perfect figures without any tracing.

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The dyes are vegetable and non harmful. Amazingly done on fabric without any millimeter of fabric being wasted.

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2 Block Printing:in this the wooden blocks are carved and partially dipped into natural or synthetic dyes and are then hand pressed on the fabric mainly cotton giving a beautiful design.

3 Ikkat Weaving or Patola: we can recognise Gujrati Patola by its geometrical pattern s and use of colours. The fabric can be reversible, as the pattern is identical on both sides.

It is done in two ways—

a) Single Ikkat: in which only the weft yarns are tied and dyed and warp yarns are either of a single base colour or white.

b)Double Ikkat:only Patan in Gujrat is famous for its double ikkat sarres work in which both the warps and wefts are tied and dyed to achieve a pattern after the weave.

–it can be identified by the hazy outline of the motifs and designs used in the saree.

–it is done on a pit loom only in monsoon season.

–in Gujrat it is done majorly in Patan, Surendranagar and Rajkot.

We also studied the whole process of ikat tying and dyeing.

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1. Raw or unprocessed RFD ( Ready for Dying) Silk threads.

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2. Colored or dyed silk threads. All colors to be used in one design are dyed separately and prepared in bunches.

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3. & 4. Zari threads with colored silk threads.

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Different reels prepared for different designs. These look fabulous. No wonder the final product is amazingly beautiful.

These are some of my super favorite designs in single & double ikat.

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4 Aari embroidery:it represents a cobblers stitch. The sharper and finer the hook of the awl(needle) the more refined the quality of the embroidery.This is made on silk or locally made Gajji satin or on a silky satin Atlash.The garments under the spell of Aari are usually dotted with bootis (motifs), which round of with big sized ones known as Nadir ShaahiBooti.

5 Soof embroidery: it is done by counting weft and the warp yarns and the designs and the motifs are composed only and only out of triangles made of satin stitch.It is very intricate and the designs are always different and do not get repeated at all because the artisan does not graph any design but starts by imagining the design in mind.

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Images of a motif from SOOF EMBROIDERY.

It is done in Tharad which is 15kms from the village Bhujodi.

An important and shocking thing is that these artisans who are doing Soof embroidery now says that they will loose their perfect eyesight at a very early age. After acquiring an age of 40 – 45 and above they will start practicing patch work and will have to give up on Soof. This is because Soof is extremely intricate and it takes a lot of commitment and focus without distraction while doing Soof for years together. This extreme concentration and stressing of eyes degrade their eye sight earlier than a normal villager.

*At an NGO called “Shrujan” owned by Chandaben Shrof is working to encourage this art and hence is providing employment to many artisans.

6 Pukka and Mukka work by Pakistanis: this is a very intricate and time consuming embroidery. It is named pukka work as pukka (means very strong) and hence it is very intricate yet very strong and some of the artifacts are still in existence since ages.

7 Rabari embroidery: it is the most prominent and widely available. The Mutwas living in Banni village( 80 kms from Bhujodi)makes 5 most difficult types of embroideries with the inset of mirrors within easily.

*Here I interviewed Devji Megyi Siju, who himself was an artisan told about the motifs and the recent developments in motif designs.He also told about the Ramakada(toys) design on the shawls weaved by them called locally as “dhaabla”.

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Devji Siju weaving “Ramakda” design.

The place where they were working was established 10 years ago by Vishram Bhai Valji inBhujodi nearTaluka.

8 Applique or Katab: in Gujarat the final products are quilts known as “godadi”.it is done in Banni areas by the housewives.

*At an NGO called Kala Raksha we met with an internationally known artisan “Raniben” who is famous for her story telling through her artefacts’ of appliqué work.She is into this art for more than 50 years and has won national and international awards for the same.She also conducts workshops in China,Japan and Mumbai often.

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This is our team with Raniben – The National Award winner for Patch work.


9 Kantha embroidery: basically is running stich by silk threads extracted from old colourful sarees.

10 Tangaliya weaving: kind of weaving in which after counting on the warp and weft yarns the design is weaved in the fabric itself by the use of raw cotton thread. It gives a dotted impression.now only a few families are doing this particular weaving and no one else in the world.

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With the only family in India who has dedicated their life for Tangalia weaving. #Salute

With the member of the last families continuing their heritage for Tangalia weaving.

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” Khakha ” – Pattern for Tangalia weaving.

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The weaving Set up.

The weaving Set up.

This was so facinating to me & I did not wanted to waste a chance to try my own designs on the weave. Happy to try though could not do it for long, Tangaliya is not an easy task but beautiful.

This was so facinating to me & I did not wanted to waste a chance to try my own designs on the weave. Happy to try though could not do it for long, Tangaliya is not an easy task but beautiful.

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The fruit of all the hard work. We have the finished fabric here.

The fruit of all the hard work. We have the finished fabric here.

After such a fabulous learning, we wanted some fun and then we decided to leave for Mandavi Beach.

Places visited:

1 Calico Museum of textiles

2 Shreus Museum

NGO’s

1 Gram Shree

2 Kala Raksha

3 Shrujan

*Also to Museum Quality Textiles