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How did this small town come to be known as the best in the history of Hand Blockprinting?

It was usual for the Rajasthan medieval elites to have musicians, artists, and craftsmen associated with their family. The artists were attached to their patron’s family. They would create a whole gamut of objects and arts in-house for family-like jewelry, clothes, music, bangles or prints, etc. Sanganer became a land of great artists and patronizing families. Whenever the king or the ruler needed something particular, word of mouth would search for unique skillsets. The best artisans would be found and sent. The selected printers and dyers would prepare a new design or a new shade of color for their king. And that’s how the skills of the artisans of Sanganer became known and sought by higher nobility. This type of patronage was not just a way for economic sustenance for artisans, but also a peek into the outside world, offering the artisans a channel for aesthetic inputs. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]Sanganer Hand Blockprinting: Like every other textile lover, I visited Jaipur searching for exquisite ‘vintage’ textiles, decorated with hand block printed florals in gorgeous shades of aged reds, greens, and indigo from the era of nobility and generous patronage in the history of Jaipur. I ended up traveling 13 km away from the central city to get to this self-contained city of Sanganer packed with old structures and temples of great details and architecture. It is a town known for its unique ‘sanganeri’ hand block printing technique. It was revelatory to stumble onto Sanganer’s various sister crafts like handmade papermaking, gold and silver foil making, and cotton weaving. The small town has its artisanal ecology.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1605636883828{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text] [caption id="attachment_3097" align="alignleft" width="402"]Jacobean Embroidery a Style Based on the Folklore of England A floor covered in rush in a medieval home[/caption] Jacobean Embroidery : We live in our current times in houses or apartments, which are fully furnished, heated in winter, and adorned extensively with textiles for aesthetic reasons and utility.  But there was a time in England and the rest of the world that houses were draughty, furniture scarce, and cloth was restricted to wool, linen, and silk. There were rushes on the floor, which dogs and often people would relieve themselves in, making interiors malodorous. People often shifted from one house to another, an itinerant lifestyle because homes became quickly unhygienic. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]In the 16th and 17th centuries, an awareness began to grow about beauty and comfort, both in interiors and dress. This age coincided with a time in England when huge homes were being built, abbeys were turned into residences, and lasting peace meant that they could give attention to aesthetic

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Paisley is a genuinely global motif that survived many years, passing through various cultures, evolving into many shapes, names, and colors. The credit for this goes to the endless love of this motif from the tastemakers worldwide. This article traces the origin, movement, evolution, and beauty of this antique motif, which is still a design identity of fashion and home companies from ‘Etro’ in Italy to ‘Kashmir Loom’ in India.

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[caption id="attachment_2995" align="alignleft" width="398"]THE MUGHAL RULERS LOVE FOR BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS AND FLORAL DESIGNS Bābur supervising the laying out of his Charbagh The Garden of Fidelity. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
India - ca.1590
Artists: Bishndas and Nanha From the V&A[/caption]

Mughal Floral Designs - South Asian art has always been full of floral images, but this reached its zenith in the Mughal empire. During the 330 years that the dynasty ruled, most magnificent art, architecture, and craft that the world has seen were produced, and much imagery used was from flora,  particularly in the reigns of Jahāngīr and Shah Jahan. However, Bābur, Humayun, and Akbar are all recorded as profoundly interested in gardens and flowers.  One of Babur's first actions in India was to make a garden, the Charbagh.

The popularity of floral motifs in Mughal art was because traditionally, living creatures and humans were not supposed to be depicted in Islamic art. Therefore, the plant kingdom provided subjects that were non-controversial and capable of stylization.

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[caption id="attachment_2870" align="alignleft" width="364"]Toile de Jouy In 1785 Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf invented the first machine for printing wallpaper, later printing on cotton fabric at his factory in Jouy-en-Josas, hence the prints were known as Toile de Jouy[/caption]

The term 'Toile de Jouy' (meaning, "cloth from Jouy") refers to the printed cotton produced by the Oberkampf textile manufactory at Jouy en Josas in Normandy from 1760 to 1843. It is most often associated with a Rococo pattern of Shepherds and shepherdesses encircled with floral garlands, usually in blue or pink, on a white background. The term is generic and encompasses a wide range of designs from Neoclassical to more generalized floral patterns.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1601061701764{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column css=".vc_custom_1601056653257{padding-right: 15px !important;}" offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Muslin- The word ‘Muslin’ is believed to derive from Marco Polo’s description of the cotton trade in Mosul, Iraq. Another view is that of fashion historian Susan Greene, who wrote that the name arose in the 18th century from mousse, the French word for “foam.” The word is most likely derived from the port of Machilipatnam, called Masulipatnam earlier, from where muslin was exported to South Asia, the Roman Empire, Ethiopia, and Egypt, where it was famously used to wrap mummies.  It was often traded for ivory and rhinoceros horn by Greek and Arab merchants. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1600923185761{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Madras Checks: My all-time favorite, and always in fashion, Madras checks stem from a humble origin with fascinating and quirky twists and turns in their journey.

The Origin of Madras Checks Fabric

Around the 12th century, Madras Checks was a piece of handloom clothing for India's peasant class in the village called Madraspatnam (Madras now Chennai). The local weavers would extract the soft fibers from the "tip-skin" of native trees to weave 36" wide square handkerchiefs, which were then block printed with bright colored check patterns.  They were worn as a garment similar to a sarong wrapped around the waist and extending to the ankles, called a lungi.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1599878627805{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]NATURAL DYES – THE HISTORY OF EXTRACTION OF PLANT PIGMENTS Last week, I had written about dyes extracted from animals. In continuation of the story of natural dyes, I will describe the primary dyes extracted from plant sources and the often violent history associated with at least one of these.  

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The Story of Indian Kalamkari : Imagine a textile that is traditionally hand-painted with a bamboo pen, has a history which goes back 3000 years, and was partly instrumental in India losing her independence. That is Kalamkari, with its Persian root ‘Ghalam’ or pen, and ‘Kari’ or craftsmanship.

Kalamkari in its current form, where resist dyed fabrics are hand painted, is believed to have originated in the 8th century AD, though painted fabrics have been discovered in the Indus Valley Civilisation. This was a time when religious traditions and tales from Hindu mythology were handed down orally by itinerant minstrels, similar to traditions in Europe. Kalamkaris with depictions of tales from Hindu mythology, were a visual aid to these minstrels. In a sense, their purpose was similar to the stained glass of churches in Europe.

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The Story of the Kashmir Shawl

 I have a very early memory of a mouse-coloured shawl my mother had which could go through a large man’s ring. I loved doing this so much the shawl was damaged, much to my mother’s dismay. I know today that this was the shahtoosh, made from the hair of the Chiru antelope, now rightly banned because the Chiru is endangered.

Fortunately, all other Kashmir shawls have more benign origins and we can continue reading about them, marvel at their workmanship, and snuggle into their luxurious warmth if we are lucky enough to own one. In India, shawls are often treated as part of a coming of age ceremony, so a girl getting married might get her first shawl as a present from her parents

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