Saturday, January 30, 2010

1st day of hand block printing demonstrations

Here are a few pictures from Day 1 (Jan 30) of the block printing demos at daram

Sanjay and Purnamalji Chippa displaying the printing from Bagru to a curious group of visitors

Getting the right angle...a TV crew in action

At work...

Jabbar bhai displays one of his Ajrakh creations

The block and the print from Kutch

For details of the workshops and the printers please see

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Traditional hand-block printing demonstrations

dāram presents two days of demonstrations of traditional block-printing in natural dyes from Bhuj (Gujarat) and Bagru (Rajasthan). Printers Abdul Jabbar from Bhuj (Gujarat) and Sanjay Chippa from Bagru (Rajasthan) who work with dāram would be showcasing their craft during the demonstrations.

January 30 and 31, 2010
(Saturday and Sunday)

11.30 am, 2.00 pm, 3.30 pm and 5.00 pm

Traditional block, Bhuj, Gujarat

Traditional blocks, Bagru, Rajasthan

A note on the printers and printing traditions

Abdul Jabbar from Dhamadka in Bhuj started working as an Ajrakh block printer at the age of 8 years. He trained under his father and has been conferred the National Award for Excellence in Craft by The Ministry of Textiles, Government of India in the year 2003. He has personally trained over 45 youth in this technique and has participated in various researches and documentation projects with scholars across the world in the area of Natural dyes, Ajrakh printing, design, folk traditions and other related fields.
Abdul Jabbar comes from a family of traditional Ajrakh Block Printers who have been practicing this craft for the past 9 generations as per documented history. His father Mohamad Siddique Khatri was instrumental in reviving the vegetable dyeing and printing techniques in Kutch and the entire family continues to practice the craft.
Ajrakh Block Printing: - Ajrakh is a centuries old technique of printing and dyeing using natural dyes from mineral and vegetable sources. This extremely complicated technique uses resist, pigment, mordant and dyeing techniques in various sequences to create printed textiles for use by the local communities. These textiles were objects of desire across the world for many centuries. A specialty of this technique is that the printing is done on both sides of the fabric so that there is no wrong side in the finished textile. Even with the advent of modern printing technology this is very difficult to achieve. A true Ajrakh would undergo 12 – 16 different processes and use over 25 different blocks. It would require at least four weeks printing this textile.

Printer at work, Bhuj, Gujarat

Drying fabric, Bhuj, Gujarat

Alizarine and indigo fabric laid out for drying, Bhuj, Gujarat

Ajrakh, Bhuj, Gujarat
Sanjay Chhipa was born and brought up in a traditional hand-block printing family in Bagru, near Jaipur in Rajasthan. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, Jaipur with a diploma degree in Craft designing in Soft Material Application (SMA) and works currently as a free lance designer based in Jaipur. He also runs Nisha Handicrafts that specializes in hand block printing.
About Bagru and Bagru Printing: Bagru is a small town in Rajasthan located 32 kms. west of Jaipur city. It is famous for its traditional process of hand block printing with natural colours. The artisans here do printing with Syahi and Begur and also using a resist technique called Dabu printing, a very old technique of the printing.
The Bagru prints in the past have been mainly used by the local population, particularly by women. Design and patterns are printed with rich colours like Indigo blue, Alizarine red, Iron black and bright yellow. Resist pastes, natural dyes, khar earth from bank of the river flowing nearby as well as other natural materials were used in the printing process. Geometrical forms are used along with floral, animal and bird forms to create the patterns that are printed.

Resist printing (dabu), Kaladera, Rajasthan

Alizarine dyeing in copper pot, Bagru, Rajasthan

Washing fabric, Bagru, Rajasthan

Indigo fabric laid out to dry, Bagru, Rajasthan

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Launching Sarangi

Fine Kanjivaram silk sarees from Sarangi, Chennai


The Kanjivaram - arguably the queen of silks - reigns supreme as the most versatile, breathable, durable, and exquisitely comfortable sari known to the world. It is a natural insulator and possesses the unique ability to draw moisture away from your skin. It is a sophisticated masterpiece of technique and skill that has evolved over centuries. Blessed by the unique confluence of history, geography and culture of Kanchipuram, the city of a thousand temples, the master weavers of this land elevated the handwoven silk sari to high art.

To own a Kanjivaram is to know that each sari is so different and so special that no two can ever be exactly alike. To wrap yourself in the luxury of a Kanjivaram is to know that somebody’s complete attention was on that weaving for many days. To experience the magic of a Kanjivaram is to know that you are wearing a sari that is at once smart, stylish, sensual and classic.


Sarangi celebrates the spirit of the Kanjivaram with a range of saris that are elegant, beautiful and always special. Never blatanly modern, each sari is designed keeping the aesthetics and sensibility of The Kanjivaram in mind.