Bandhani is a Sanskrit word that means to bind or to tie. It is a technique of making intricate patterns in cloth by first tying tiny bindings and then employing resist-dyeing. While today this craft is found in many cultures, it was believed to have developed in the Indus Valley over 5000 years ago.
Traditionally bandhani is practiced within families. The pattern is imprinted on a piece of fabric with a wooden block and a washable dye. Women use a skillful technique of plucking the pattern with their fingers and nails and then tying the fabric with a thin thread. Men then dye the fabric, sometimes multiple times. When dry, two people stretch the fabric to release the ties. The process can sometimes take over a month to complete.
We source bandhani from the state of Gujarat in India. Bandhani, like many textiles, is integral to the culture there. Brides often wear bandhani sarees or dupattas, as they are thought to bring a new bride luck. Some of the patterns have been passed down from previous generations while others reflect the creative ideas of contemporary artisans.
Traditionally bandhani was done on beautiful long wearing Indian cotton, but today you can find it on many different textiles. If you should find a tiny piece of thread still attached to the pattern, you know that it is an authentic bandhani piece and not a mass-produced copy!
Most kalamkari motifs are traditional, varying from stylized plants and peacocks to depictions of ancient myths. However, some current artists use more geometric designs, inspired by modern art. While traditionally painted on Indian cotton, current artisans are using silk, georgette and other fabrics. Explore using these pieces in multiple ways…..add them to your wardrobe, give them as a gift, hang them on a wall…..enjoy this elegant art form any way you like.