Thursday, March 24, 2011

Applied -Dyed and Printed Textiles

Kalamkari of kalahasti
  • Kalamkari (from the Persian words kalam - pen, kari - work) refers to the art of drawing free-hand pictures on a fabric using vegetable dyes.
  • Typical features of Kalamkari
  • Like all hand-crafted items, no two kalamkari paintings will look the same. They differ in style, expression, the way limbs are painted, etc.
  • Some of the notable characteristics of a traditional Kalamkari painting are as follows:
  •  The panel will always have border on all 4 sides, done in traditional designs.
  •  Theme is depicted in the center with the story painted in compartment strips all around. The theme in the center is composed in a circular, rectangular or squarish form.
  • The first division will mostly depict the artist praying to Lord Ganesha before beginning his work.  Figures are very artistic with round faces with large eyes, tilted at an angle of 45 degrees.
  •  Outlines are done in a prominent fashion, thus making it easy to understand the complicated design. Contemporary kalamkari paintings may not adhere to these specifications, as artists are exploring new ways of expression.
Raw materials used
  • Kalamkari painting uses only natural products. The cotton cloth used for painting is usually of 60s or 80s count. The cloth is washed, bleached and treated with mordants so that the colors will penetrate well and will be permanently insoluble. It is then painted with required colors using raw materials from the bark, root, leaf and stem of different plants.  The list of raw materials would look something like this:-  1)Cotton cloth  2)Cow/buffalo dung - a natural bleaching agent  3)Myrobalan nuts - mordant for black color  4)Iron pieces and jaggery - for preparing black color  5)Alum - mordant for red color  7)Surulpattu - bark of a tree, added with chavalkudi to enhance the red shade  8)Jaji leaves - leveling agents during developing of red color  9)Myrobalan Flowers - for producing yellow color  10)Indigo Blue Cake - extracted from leaves of Indigo plant, for creating blue color  11)Buffalo Milk - added to avoid spreading of color  12)Tamarind Twigs - for making outlines  Since the palette is based on natural colors, the range of shades are limited. The basic colors created are black, red, yellow, blue and green. 15 other hues are created by mixing these basic colors.
Block printing
  • It is the oldest method of printing designs on fabric using blocks manually.
  • It is too slow which is not commercially well doing today.
  • It is done in countries where labor is less costly.
  • Today block print is done only on certain areas of a product where decoration is needed.
  • It is majorly used for home furnishing products these days.
  • To make block print the design must be carved on a wooden or metal block
  • The dye stuff is applied in a paste form to the design on the face of the block.
  • The block is pressed down firmly by hand on selected area on the surface of the fabric.
  • For more colours additional blocks must be made.
  • The portion in which the print has to be done must be marked or trace before the printing is done.
  • The more colours printed the more valuable the fabric will be because of the number of hours and no. of labors involved.
  • Hand block print can be identified by its irregular printing and uneven design detail formation.
  • These things are rectified in machine printing. They give machine prints the characteristic appearance of expensive hand block print.
Techniques of Block Printing in India
  • Direct Printing : In this technique, the cotton or silk cloth is first bleached. Then the fabric is dyed, unless a light background is desired. Thereafter, the fabric is printed using carved blocks, first the outline blocks, then the ones to fill color.
  • Resist Printing : In the resist technique, areas that are to be protected from the dye are covered with a mixture of clay and resin. The dyed fabric is then washed. The dye spreads into the protected areas through cracks, producing a rippled effect. Block prints are then used to create further designs.
  • Discharge Printing : In this technique, the fabric is dyed. Then, a chemical is used to remove the dye from the portions that are to have designs in a different color. These portions are then treated, so they may be re-colored.
  • Process of Block Printing in India
  • The fabric to be printed is first washed free of starch..
  • The fabric is then stretched over the printing table and secured with pins.
  • Color is mixed separately and kept ready. So are the blocks. The blocks are made of teak wood and hand-carved. They are soaked in oil for 10-15 days to soften the timber.
  • The block is pressed down hard on the fabric, to make a clear impression. Thereafter, other blocks are used to fill in color.
  • Once the fabric is printed, it is dried in the sun. It is then rolled in newspaper to prevent the fabric layers from sticking to each other.
  • The fabric is then steamed.
  • Ironing is the last stage.
  • Block Printing in Punjab
  • The block printing from Punjab is not as famous as its Rajasthani. The designs were usually floral and geometrical. The colors are light and pastel.
  • Block Printing in Andhra Pradesh
  • In Andhra Pradesh, the block printing method is applied in the creation of the exquisite Kalamkari Painting. Kalamkari, as the name suggests, is artwork ( kari ) created with a pen ( kalam ). It is a combination of hand painting and block printing.
  • The two major centers of Kalamkari art are Sri Kalahasti and Masulipatnam.
  • The Masulipatnam designs are Iranian in character; the most popular motifs are Persian motifs like trees, creepers, flowers and leaf designs. In Masulipatnam, Kalamkari work is mainly done on bed covers, curtains and garments, using a combination of wooden block printing and hand painting.
  • In Sri Kalahasti Kalamkari work, temples are a major source of inspiration. It was because of the demand for scrolls and wall hangings with Hindu mythological stories, that Kalamkari flourished in this village. These themes are painted in the panels, and there is a script painted along the border. The popular motifs are Hindu gods and goddesses . The work is done entirely with a brush-like pen.
  • Block Printing in India is also practiced in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • Kalamkari Painting is a widely practised craft form in Srikalahasti (Sri-spider, Kala-serpent and Hasti- elephant, three devotees of Lord Shiva)
                       Pen – work (kalahasthi)                               Machlipattnam

Madhubani paintings
  • Madhubani art is a form of traditional Indian art form.
  • Madhubani paintings or Mithila Paintings is a style of Indian painting, practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar state, India.
  • The Madhubani painting or Mithila Painting are originated at the time of the Ramayana, when King Janak commissioned artists to do paintings at the time of marriage of his daughter, Sita, to Hindu god Lord Ram.
  • Madhubani means forests of honey
  • Here the women of the village maintain a dominance over the craft.
  • They paint figures from nature and myth on household and village walls to mark the seasonal festivals for special events.
  • The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud wall of huts, but now it is also done on cloth, hand-made paper and canvas.
  • For colours they use vegetable extracts.
Themes of Madhubani Paintings:
  • Madhubani paintings mostly depict nature and Hindu devotional events, and the themes generally revolve around Hindu gods like Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.
  • Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and the religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along side scenes from the royal courts and social events like weddings.
  • Generally no empty space is left the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs
  • Step 1: Choose a design
  • Step 2: First draw the required pattern on the trace paper and copy the design into the cloth/paper using carbon sheet.
  • Step3: If using Cloth Paint using fabric colours and let it dry well. Use Poster colours for paper. The colours are applied flat with no shading. There is normally a double line drawn for the outlines, with the gap between the lines filled by cross or straight tiny lines. In the some painting, no colours are applied. Only the outlines are drawn.
  • Step4: Draw outlines using the black colour and again leave it to dry for 24 hours. If applying on cloth iron on the back side of the cloth.

Warli painting

  • Warli Painting is an ancient tradition of Indian folk art form of painting of a tribes known as Warli belonging to Maharashtra.
  • The Warli painting derives its name from a small tribe which inhabits the remote areas of Maharashtra. The Warlis are mainly a tribe which depend mainly on agriculture and they live in mud-huts.
  • Which are built is such a way that they all encircle a central cell. During the time of harvest, happy moments like births and wedding, the houses of Warlis are decorated with a vocabulary of patterns. This practice encouraged to what it is presently called the Warli Paintings.
  • Warli paintings largely demonstrate the basic components of life which are the primary themes or basis of any tribe.
Style of Warli Paintings 
  • Warli Paintings are characterized by the simple style.
  • Colour use in the Warli paintings is limited to stark white opposite to earthen backgrounds.
  • Most of the paintings are dominated by geometrical design like lines and dots.
  • The monochromatic tribal paintings express different types of folk imaginations, customs and beliefs.
  •  Symbolism in Warli Paintings  Birds, trees, women and men together.
  • Even spiral formations of men and women and concentric circular designs in Warli Paintings are symbolic of the circle of life.
  • There are several paintings which look very simple but are symbol. The Warli Paintings do not take the help of religious images.(N0)
  • The most frequent theme of Warli paintings is marriage. Several paintings portray the marriage god called Palghat, attended by a horse and the groom and the bride.
  • In recent times, these paintings also include a few modern elements like bicycles or transistors tucked in corners of the paintings. 
  • Great epics or mythology are not narrated in the Warli paintings. Painted on mud, surface based on charcoal along with rice paste in order to get the white colour,.
  • Typically Warlis are simply painted on mud, charcoal and cow dung treated surfaces with rice
  • paste for the colour white.
  • The colours used were not permanent .
  • Typical Warli Paintings Background colours
  • Warlis typically use:
  • Henna
  • Indigo
  • Black
  • Earthy mud
  • Brick red
  • But you can always Experiment with background colour. As contrast to typical Warli background try and experiment with vibrant colours.Can even combine two colours to make the background...Just like half red and half black in the Warli above.


  1. This is an extremely informative post! What an wonderful effort!

  2. I think I am going to use a similar blog template to yours. I find it very attractive to the reader.

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  3. creative one

  4. Awesome! I love it and I love the pattern you created too. Great tutorial, really easy to follow. I'm sure there will be a lot more foam printing happening out there now.
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  5. i love design you have created. kalamkari sarees look perfect on women of all age groups, recently i bought a kalamkari sarees online which is really beautiful and trendy. Thanks

  6. Nice and informative information. Hats off to your great efforts and awesome designs. Thanks for sharing.
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  7. This is really true, lovely the post. Thanks for sharing.
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