Kalamkari design is one of the oldest textile designs that can be found in India and its roots lie in Andhra Pradesh although the similar pattern is found in Iran as well. The name itself is derived from the Persian word ‘Kalam’ which means pen and ‘Kari’ which means work, thus this design incorporates the use of the special types of pens which are used in the handicraft process. The dyes that are used in designing in these sarees are completely natural and are blended with milk to form the colour base. Moreover, the designing process is often complicated and detailed which is why expert artisans are involved in the weaving process. Today, you can even find this saree online purchase them from a trusted brand that would assure authenticity.
Kalamkari is not just restricted to the sarees, the technique involved in the same is also used in making wall paintings, hand towels, bed covers, dress materials, and much more. The patterns and designs that are incorporated in Kalamkari are vibrant and bright which makes this art stand out from the rest that is found in India. In the earlier times, the patterns on the Kalamkari sarees where inspired from the Chittrakatis of the region who used to roam from one village to other for the purpose of storytelling which were often in the religious context. The weavers of that time got inspired from these stories and started depicting them to Kalamkari which lead to the origin of this particular design. On the whole, the Kalamkari style is incomparable in its own way and makes uses of unique techniques and weaving style that is found nowhere else. As the designs are handprinted, it takes months to bring out a single saree in the completed form which is ready to wear. Machlipatnam and Srikalahasti are the two main styles of the Kalamkari which are found in India where the former one uses a series of hand-block printing techniques and the latter one uses free hand drawing and is less complicated.
When we talk about the color pattern in particular, the sarees follow specific patterns and themes. Women figures are made in yellow, gods in blue, whereas demons in red and green. A red background is often used while making the kalamkari painting or saree. Another pattern that you find in the Kalamkari saree is the Karrupur style which uses gold embellishment on the borders and was primarily used by the royal families of that era. There are at least twenty three steps which are involved in the Kalamkari which start from bleaching, softening, sun drying, hand painting to air drying and washing the fabric.
Even though Kalamkari has an elaborate history, it somehow became rare in the between as the process of making them was too tedious and there were only few craftsmen left who could replicate this style perfectly. Moreover, industrialisation and the advent of machine handloom left to the decline of this art. But with subsequent efforts by the textile industry of India and promotion of this particular style and design, the ancient art of Kalamkari has been revived and the artisans who are trained in this are hired for bringing back the style especially through sarees and dress materials.
After reading elaborately about the Kalamkari design, you must surely be lured into buying them. Just like any other saree designs that are found in India, Kalamkari too holds a special significance and is unique in its own way. It is always better that you have a collection of the varieties of sarees that are found in India so that you can wear them interchangeably on different occasions.