The word Kalamkari refers to the ancient style of hand painting done on silk or cotton fabrics with the help of tamarind pen and natural dyes. Kalamkari is originated from a Persian word in which Kalam refers to pen and Kari means the craftsmanship. This art comprises of 23 tedious steps of dyeing, hand painting, bleaching, block printing, cleaning, searching, and many more. Themes drawn in Kalamkari spans from peacock, flowers and paisleys to godly characters of Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Nowadays, this art is primarily done on the Kalamkari sarees.
Basically, it is a mystical textile, it has many unseen characters, so it is much more than textiles. One can experience a culture through this.
Kalamkari The Mystical Art – Some Interesting Facts
There are many facts about Kalamkari! Let’s Discuss!
1. Healing fabric
Also known as healing fabric, Kalamkari is featured with dynamic colours, compositions, motifs and the narration of magical forms which create a sensation that heals an individual physically as well as spiritually, like Sri Lankan masks are known for keeping aside the bad augury and bring prosperity and health.
2. Traditional decorative element
Being multi-cultural fabric it represents the rare form of the ancient, where in ancient time groups of musicians, singers, and painters (known as Chitrakattis) moved from village to village to village dwellers, and the boundless stories of Indian Tradition.
Inspired from the fascinated temple walls, in the 18th century, the British introduced the same decorative technique to clothing and named making it as “Fabric for Fashion” since at that time it has been one of the most motivating fabrics in the world. It is the perfect blend of tradition and dynamic designs, which offers a great look to the fabric.
Kalamkari is totally an eco-friendly and organic as it is done in Natural dyes, using various flowers, cow dung seeds, and milk as a natural binder. A fabric gets its shininess from natural starch, which never harms skin or creates an allergy. The preparation method is totally sustainable and doesn’t harm the environment and surrounding. Alum confirms no colour bleeding.
4. The Srikalahasti style and Machhalipatnam style of art – The 2 idiosyncratic styles
Kalamkari art in our country is done basically in two styles – first is the Srikalahasti style and the second is the Machhalipatnam style. In Srikalahasti style the pen or as we call “kalam” is used to draw freehand drawing and colours are filled in, this entire art is hand worked. The Magical Kalam is made of bamboo, which is dipped into the dye solution to create the calligraphic effect. Since the fabric fits painted textiles, one can explore by connecting it with tradition and culture.
In the nutshell, Kalamkari is a rich source to learn the tradition and culture of ancient people, so everyone learns this old technique, for its revitalization, for it to endure and grow. It is an individual’s commitment to adopt this old craft and mould it in the modern way to bring it to front it of the modern world and add up it in home and lifestyle fashion.