India has been the hotbed of civilization since eons ago. So it’s hardly a surprise we are the pioneers in fabric design as well. Here are a few of the popular and ancient fabric designs and weaves from India:
Without a doubt one of the more popular designs, the Bandhani technique has its roots go far back, as far as the Indus Valley Civilization. Bandhani is a derivative of the Sanskrit word ‘Bandha’ which means ‘to tie’. The fabric is first tied at several places and then dyed to form interesting patterns like dots, stripes, waves, etc. Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab host a large number of Bandhani making centers. A variant of the Bandhani technique in Tamil Nadu is known as Sungudi.
One of the more expensive textiles, the Patola is a double ikat weave from Gujarat. Patolas from patan are considered the most exclusive, with the weaving technique being a closely guarded family tradition that rests with the Salvi family. The method is complex and precise though it can be created in fabrics like cotton, silk or on blends. Each thread is dyed separately and then woven precisely to form an interesting pattern. Though the Patola is native to the Patan region of Gujarat, variants of Patolas are woven in Surat, Rajkot and Ahmedabad.
Batik is one of the ancient resist-dyeing form of printing fabric, going back 2000 years. Samples of the Batik have also been found in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Wax resist dyeing is used to create beautiful motifs on the cloth – The waxed areas keep their original color and when the fabric is dyed. Though the form used to be known for its earthy hues, contemporary designs sport brighter and more vibrant colours.
Kalamkari in the Persian language means the art of penmanship. A term of Persian origin, Kalamkari translates into ‘the art of drawing with a pen’. The style involves hand painting done on cotton or silk fabric with a tamarind pen and natural colors to imbue intricate animal and floral prints as well as stories from mythology. Motifs drawn in Kalamkari spans from intricate flowers, peacock, paisleys to divine characters of Hindu epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Ikat – one of the oldest forms of dyeing & weaving technique – is a hand dyed, hand woven fabric made using both silk and cotton yarns. The warp and the weft threads are first tie-dyed and placed on the loom before the weaving. Single ikat refers to the process where either the warp or the weft yarn is tie-dyed. Double ikat refers to the process where both are tie and dyed making the process more complicated and precise. Lining the threads in place requires immense skill and attention to detail. Sharper images and prints require more time and effort, thus making sharp Ikat designs more expensive.