CCI offers a glimpse into textile crafts at Dyes of India showcase  

21 artisans, master dyers and weavers will exhibit craft traditions like kalamkari, tie-and-dye ikat, Lambani embroidery, appliqué work and more

Rebecca Vargese Published :  07th July 2017 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  07th July 2017 06:00 AM

Bagh Print Bhatti


While it may hold true that indigo and organic fabrics make such a natural pair (think exclusive all-blue collections from Fabindia, Vraj: Bhoomi and The Pot Plant), the Crafts Council of India is broadening the spectrum of colours with their Dyes of India showcase. Bringing together their repertoire of 21 artisans, master dyers and weavers from across the country the four-day exhibition will showcase craft traditions like ajrakh, kalamkari, tie-and-dye ikat, Lambani embroidery, appliqué work and more. Products like master craftsman Abdul Rauf Khatri’s ajrakh saris and dupattas, and Rapole Krishnakanth’s Pochampally tie-and-dye ikat material will be available at the showcase.

At the Lalit Kala Academy starting July 12. Details: 28291692

Block party

Mohammed Bilal Khatri was initiated into the trade of block printing at the age of eight by his grandfather. The product of their labour—the 400-year-old Bagh block print, a textile tradition practiced in and geographically tagged to Bhag, Dhar district of MP. Identified by geometrical and floral compositions, predominantly in red and black, Bilal tells us that while these are common motifs used by the Khatri community, the block print also uses a colour palette of indigo and yellow with patterns like amba (mangoes with two leaves); champa, dhola maru, jalam buta and mirchi (collectively known as 
nandana), attha design (eight petals) and lahariya (waves) among others. “We source the cotton from local plantations and use the cloth with the highest thread count, because our designs require fine textured fabric,” shares the 30-year-old who received the World Crafts Council Award of Excellence for Handicrafts in 2016 for his bagh print silk stole. Expect to find a range of saris, silk scarves, shawls and table runners. Rs 600 onwards.

Stitch pickings

While the Vankar name does ring synonymous with the revival of lac dyeing in Kutch, it is the hand embroidered shawls, carpets and quilts that the weavers produce that do Vankar Shyamji Vishramji and his community of 75 workmen credit. Recipient of the National Award for Weaving in 2005, Shyamji and his family have been involved in creating some of the region’s finest fabrics, dealing with natural dyes like madder, alizarin, pomegranate peels, turmeric and catechu for yarn dyeing. Calling it a conscious decision to revive lac dye techniques, Shyamji says, “In Kutch kersariya, rato, ghudo and karo, local names for orange, red, maroon and black, are the dominant colour scheme of the region.” Besides the resurgence of the dyeing technique, Bhujodi is also reclaiming the title as a centre for woven cotton and woollen textiles—it’s highlighting feature, an extra weft in the weaves. Available at the showcase will be the newly introduced kala saris range, dupattas and shawls. Rs7,000 upwards.

Lac nothing

CV Raju put the focus back on Etikoppaka, a small town in AP, when the National Innovation Foundation bestowed him with a State Award in 2003. His achievement—spotlighting the lacquered wood craftsmanship of his village, Etikoppaka, all while reviving the use of tree-based dyes in the creation of these handicrafts. “Traditionally the dyes were made from a tree called divi-divi which could only produce varying shades of red. To keep up with the influx of colourful plastic toys that filled the market, artisans began resorting to the use of synthetic dyes,” shares Raju. “Having lost out on the allure of creating safe toys for children, exports began falling drastically and so did the sales,” he adds. Stepping in to rectify the deteriorating situation, Raju began experimenting with a range of seeds (Bixa orenella), roots (Indian madder) and leaves (mogali) and succeeded in creating a wide variety of colours, tones and shades, except white and pink. These colours are used to embellish everything from toys to boxes, decorative bowls and even jewellery. Rs 20 upwards.