Sunday, January 18, 2009



In September last year, dāram conducted a day long workshop where dyers and block printers from across Andhra Pradesh demonstrated various techniques of dyeing yarn and printing hand woven cotton fabric using natural and safe dye materials.

Following is a short note we had prepared at that time on natural and safe dyeing:


Cotton yarn in natural dyes

Dyeing cotton yarn and fabric with natural materials like indigo, pomegranate, ratanjyot, katha, and areca, has been an age old practise across India and a vibrant palette has always existed. With the advent of chemical dyes, however, the technology of natural dyeing was badly affected and has been slowly disappearing.
One of Dastkar Andhra's key interventions over the last fifteen years has been to revitalise natural dyeing processes and to standardize a set of colours. Natural dyeing and the natural dyeing process has also received a new thrust with an increased focus on the environment and on being environment friendly.
The flow of colour from natural materials to cotton yarn is a fascinating process to watch. Our dyeing experts including Mohd. Saleem and Odelu will demonstrate the process.

The invention of chemical dyes in Europe in the 1950s has taken the textile world by storm. The colours that we are familiar with come from these chemicals and the harm that some of them cause to the user and to the environment indirectly has been well documented. Reactive dyes are the closest to the natural dyes but they are yet to establish themselves in our domestic market. Reactive dyes are low ¨C impact synthetic dyes that are characterised by improved fixation rate, heavy metal free property, and good color fastness. Dastkar Andhra has initiated a process to move to reactive dyes recently and this is also linked to d¨¡ram's effort to spearhead the move towards more eco friendly dyes. Our event will include a demonstration of the reactive dyeing process.


Handblock printing, Machlipatnam

dāram is the only store in the country that promotes hand block printing on hand woven fabric. We have a range of garments with handloom fabric printed in the well known hand block printing centres of the country like Bagru and Kaladera (Rajasthan), Bhuj (Gujarat) and Machlipatnam (Andhra Pradesh).
Printing on powerloom / mill woven (mechanical looms) is the usual way that is followed by printers across the length of the country. We believe that linking hand weaving to hand block printing preserves the integrity of the process. It is an added advantage that the prints show up much better on hand woven fabric.

Also see
'Chemical colours are carcinogenic'
for a report in 'The Hindu' on the workshop


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this book! I was inspired by the block.
    Block Printing in Bangalore

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