Kalamkari is the process of hand-painting or block-printing on fabric. The two major centres of kalamkari art are Sri kalahasti and Machilipatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Natural dyes are used in this painting. Kalamkari printing is beautiful and done on various fabrics like cotton, silk, georgette, chiffon, crape and supernet. Trees, creepers, flowers, leaf and birds are some of the popular motifs. Kalamkari patch work over other fabrics is fashion and in demand. Fancy kalamkari printing on south pure cotton sari is a refreshing attire of whole day. Appealing kalamkari hand painted on chanderi silk saree is eye-catching. And are apt to wedding, bridal occasions, corporate office, traditional festivals like sankranthi, diwali, dussehra, pongal. Designer embroidered sico sarees of kalamkari patch border with an elegant pallu are a wonderful party wear. Kalamkari (Telugu: ???????) or Qalamkari is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, produced in parts of India. The word is derived from the Persian words kalam (pen) and kari (craftmanship), meaning drawing with a pen. The Machilipatnam Kalamkari craft made at Pedana near by Machilipatnam in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, evolved with patronage of the Mughalsand the Golconda sultanate. There are two distinctive styles of kalamkari art in India - one, the Srikalahasti style and the other, the Machilipatnam style of art. The Srikalahasti style of Kalamkari, wherein the "kalam" or pen is used for free hand drawing of the subject and filling in the colours, is entirely hand worked. This style flowered around temples and their patronage and so had an almost religious identity - scrolls, temple hangings, chariot banners and the like, depicted deities and scenes taken from the great Hindu epics - Ramayana. Mahabarata, Puranas and the mythological classics. This style owes its present status to Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhayay who popularised the art as the first Chairperson of the All India Handicrafts Board. Only natural dyes are used in Kalamkari and it involves seventeen painstaking steps. In modern times the term is also used to refer, incorrectly, to the making of any cotton fabric patterned through the medium of vegetable dyes by free-hand painting and block-printing, produced in many different regions of India. In places where the fabric is block printed the Kalam (pen) is used to draw finer details and for application of some colours. The J. J. School of Art, Mumbai is presently experimenting with this art form on Silk Ikat (i.e., tie and dye textiles popular in Pochampally, Andhra Pradesh) The cotton fabric gets its glossiness by immersing it for an hour in a mixture of myrabalam (resin) and cow milk. Contours and reasons are then drawn with a point in bamboo soaked in a mixture of jagri fermented and water; one by one these are applied, then the vegetable dyes. After applying each color, the Kalamkari is washed. Thus, each fabric can undergo up to 20 washings. Various effects are obtained by using cow dung, seeds, plants and crushed flowers. Myrobalan is not a resin. Myrobalan, because of its high tannin content is used along with buffalo milk to fix the natural dyes on cotton.
Kalamkari is a word that runs through the history of Indian Textiles from the beginnings as a simple folkcraft through both great and bad times down to its revival today. Kalam comes from the Persian language and means `pen' and Kari means `work'. Actually the name came into being with the Muslim influences coming into India, although the technique and practice is far older than that. The beginnings of Kalamkari probably rest in South India and grew out of the need to illustrate some of the temple rituals. The temples commissioned large religious themed cloths. It is also true that with the advent of carbon dating, we are continually finding evidence of very old Indian textiles excavated in places like Fostat in Egypt, and Mohenjodaro and Harappa now in Pakistan. A number of heirloom cloths, which are quite old, have been discovered in Indonesia. A good number of these cloths came from the west of India, from Gujarat and Surat. Many of the cloths were block printed, some were painted cloths and there is also some evidence of Kalamkari as we know it. There are a number of scholars who are continually expanding our knowledge on this subject and this brings more light on the subject each year. Many of them are represented in the bibliography. Some of the Pichhwais (Cloth back Drops of Shrines) of Rajasthan and Gujarat are Kalamkari. Basically these are painted cloths used as decorations for the shrines of Krishna in his appearance as Srinathji in Rajasthan. They are of a wide range of techniques depending upon where they are made. Unnati Silks, has trendy designs, attractive patterns, in pleasing colours and combinations in its wide collection of kalamkari saree cotton salwar suits and Sarees, at very reasonable prices.
Unnati is one of the largest Indian ethnic online websites with over 300 varieties of traditional sarees and salwar kameez.Dispatch is within 24 hours of order. Free delivery & COD is provided for retail.Worldwide express shipping caters to almost all countries across the world. Contact: UNNATI SILK PRINTS PVT. LTD, #3-4-360, Vajra Complex, General Bazar (Tobacco Bazar), M.G.Road, Hyderabad-500003.AP,India. 040-64555251 or 97000 57744.
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