A celebration of summer awaits the connoisseur at the ‘Cotton Sari Mela,' which has a range of the traditional and the modern on display.

It's a ode to summer at the Cottage Industry's ‘Cotton Sari Mela'. Light as breeze, ethereal cotton saris awash with nature's gentle hues carry the imprint of handcraft embellishment perfected by artisans over the years. The designer touch is evident in the simple uncluttered formats with a deft touch of embroidery or ‘khadi' work border transforming each creation into elegant day or evening wear. Mull-mull, Chanderi, Maheshwari, Kota, Orissa and Bengal cottons epitomise the summer weaves of India. While the Chanderi has silk warp and cotton weft, with stylised ornamentation achieved with special traditional harness known as ‘naqshas,' the Maheshwari's closely woven borders were created specially for Rani Ahilya Bai. The legendary mulls captivate as much today as they did 2,500 years ago. And the Kota brings to life the ancient Roman description of Indian textiles as cloth “woven out of breeze.”

Different patterns

On this varied canvas block printers from Rajasthan have worked their magic to create a range of summer wear saris. Vegetable dyed Bagru block prints create fields of amris, flowers, mushrooms and ‘butties.'

The legendary Dabu printer creates the resist technique whereby block prints done with a mix of mud and natural gum reveal their patterning after the dyeing is done, leaving fascinatingly variegated imprints on cloth. The Sanganer block prints are about sunflowers, roses and geometric design.

Employing the technique of Calico printing, the artisans first do the outline and then fill in the colours. The mela has an exquisite range of their work on mull-mull and cotton.

The range on view spans the traditional and fusion with the modern. Kotas with huge embroidered peacocks or kalamkari piping, Chanderis with devnagari lettering on the pallu and border, Indigo mull-mulls in a symphony of blue, tie-and-dye and bandhini cottons from Gujarat , Bengal cottons with jacquard designs, the charm of Kasavu saris embellished with tiny embroidered flowers and much more. The ‘Cotton Sari Mela' is on at The Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Temple Towers, 672 Anna Salai, Nandanam, Chennai, till stocks last.

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