Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
This is a photoessay on the art of block printing called ‘Ajrakh’.
The process described here, is the same for any block print art. The speciality of Ajrakh is that they use specific patterns with several colors. Dyeing with several colors one after the other, requires precision.
All dyes are natural – vegetable as well as other natural origin such as iron.
The Mastercraftsman – a man I respect tremendously for his art and his philosophy
When the student is ready, the teacher appears…..
The pieces above were meant to be single color prints so the process ended there.If additional colors are used, part of this process is repeated, to produce this
An article of clothing called the ‘ajrakh’ is specially used locally mainly by the men. It is unique in the fact that the block printing is done on both sides of the cloth, again with precision that requires the design to be matched on both sides of the cloth.
This means that if you place your finger on a red petal on one side of the cloth, and poke a hole through the cloth, your finger will emerge out of a red petal printed on the other side !
a terrible image of a wonderful textile
These textiles are worked upon in two parts and stitched together along the length in the center.
Ajrakh work continues on both sides of the India – Pakistan border, with minor evolutionary variations.
A few ajrakh works are also available in the wovensouls collection.
p.s. My guide was a young dealer from Bhuj, who sold me some antique pieces at an exhibition in Bombay. We connected, and out of sheer hospitality, he invited me to visit Kutch someday. ‘Someday’ a few months later, I arranged to go to Kutch and he showed me around all of Kutch urban and rural, that on my own I may never have discovered. If you wish to connect with him do write to me.
Read a similar article on Hmong Batik Art here