From the markets to the fanciest boutiques, fabrics in India are an integral part of the culture. In the markets of the cities of India you can find a great variety of fabrics and qualities. The stalls are filled with fabrics of different colors and materials. Each fabric is unique thanks to the specific manufacturing processes they use. However, in the middle of the different piles, it is sometimes difficult to locate the part that corresponds to us.
We should know that the history of textile printing started in India a long time ago. For more than five thousand years, Indian artisans have passed down from generation to generation the secrets of the art of decorating and weaving cotton and silk fabrics . Textile production, therefore, supports hundreds of thousands of people in this country. The fabrics are used for multiple uses, including the making of different garments for women such as sari or churidar or those for men such as lunghi .
This long tradition in the textile industry has led them to develop different production techniques. Here we explain some of these techniques that show us the impressive creative variety they have:
Batik is a cotton fabric printing technique used in various countries in Asia and West Africa . It is like a kind of textile paint . There are four main steps to creating a batik. The craftsmen first draw the final pattern on the fabric, then apply hot wax to protect certain areas. Then, to apply the colors, they soak the fabric in dye baths. The wax is then removed with an iron or by soaking it in boiling water.
It is a traditional Rajasthan textile dyeing technique . The choice and color combinations vary, but there is always a predominance of yellow, orange, red or green. It is a fairly simple technique, it is necessary to tie the fabric in advance to preserve certain parts of the color, then it is dipped in one or more paint baths. The duration of the bath plays with the intensity of the color, and only the parts outside the knot are painted.
Dabu is a way of printing patterns on fabric using wooden blocks. It is a very widespread technique in Rajasthan. The wood blocks are carefully hand carved by artisans (Chippai), then used to print the patterns on silk or cotton. Dabu is a manual printing technique that is still practiced today.
Ikat is a dyeing and weaving process . The design is created by first dyeing the weft thread with all the colors that will appear in the final piece with great precision. At the time of weaving, the design elements are created by juxtaposing the parts of the yarn of the appropriate color.
This fabric takes its name from its original production center in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India . It is a production group that dates back several centuries and produces fine textured fabrics adorned with silk and cotton. It is a very light and very fragile canvas, decorated with complex patterns, used to make very elegant sarees .
Madras is a brightly colored cloth from the city of Chennai . It is a fabric made of banana , cotton and silk fibers . After Indian immigration to the West Indies, Madras is now associated with the traditional female dress of the West Indies and Guyana.
Traditionally, khadi is a cotton fabric, but it can also be made of wool. For the Indians it is not just a simple piece of cloth, it has a strong sentimental value. Gandhi promoted this fabric to improve India's rural economy in the 20th century during and after independence. The Khadi movement aimed to boycott foreign products and promote Indian products. The fight for freedom centered on the port of Khadi.
KalamKari is a traditional South Indian art. It is a cotton canvas painted by hand with vegetable dyes. The cotton fabric is dipped for one hour in a mixture of myrabalam (resin) and cow's milk. Then, using a bamboo point, we draw the outlines and patterns. Then we apply the vegetable dyes gradually, after the application of each color, the Kalamkari is washed off.
Therefore, each fabric can undergo up to 20 washes. Different effects are also obtained when using cow manure, seeds, plants or even crushed flowers.