Block printing dates back to over 2000 years ago, during Buddha’s time. The trade of printed textiles from India flourished during the medieval age and 12th century. While the Coromandel Coast boasted of Kalamkari, the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan were built on block printed textiles. These soft intricate textiles, mostly naturally dyed, built a textile tradition that is still relevant today.
My tryst with block prints began with my mother. Seeing her wear indigo prints is what I grew up with. She wore exclusively cotton, a perfect textile for the Indian climate. The madder, indigo and mustard color of these calico textiles kept the body cool and soul happy.
Traditional Chikankari Embroidery at a NYC based company. The historical city of Lucknow with its detailed architecture is synonymous with Chikankari embroidery. In 1775, Lucknow had become the capital of the city of Oudh. It at once began to attract craftsmen, artists and musicians, who were patronized by the Mughal court.
The stitches of white on white patterns such as paisleys and florals adorn the surface of the fabric . The use of untwisted cotton or silk threads was common. Some stitches start from the front of the fabric, others from the back. There are six basic stitches, which form a large repertoire of stitches as a combination of each other for embossing flowers and leaves.