From a simple poplin cloth to tiles, the designs can be printed on anything

The original colours and patterns on the wings of butterflies and on fish are unmatched beauty of Nature.

These colours and patterns have been recaptured into designs to be replicated on various surfaces, material and clothes.

And, all this has not been done by industry professionals, but by an assistant professor of a college. N. Ezhili, Head, Department of Zoology, PSGR Krishnammal College for Women, has developed thousands of designs from these patterns and has also submitted a few designs of patenting and for copyright.

Hailing from a family of fabric designers and pattern makers, Ms. Ezhili, in addition to her love for fauna, had an interest in designing. When the Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Cell (IEDC) was set up in her college, under the aegis of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), to promote entrepreneurial activities, she took up a project that combined both her interests.


The Rs. 1 lakh project of the DST on “Application of Fish Scale Designs on Fabrics” aimed at photographing designs and patterns of fish scales, editing the photographs using a specialised software, and generating multiple copies of the design to print it on cloth or photo sheets using the services of the printing industry in Tirupur. She chose three types of fishes for this purpose, based on the colours and patterns. Similarly, butterflies were selected and the same procedure was followed.

“So far prints of animals and birds have been used as it is on fabric and other material. Replicating colours and patterns from body parts has not been done. This is the innovation in this project.

The patterns and colours are used as they have been photographed, without any correction. Only printing is possible with these designs. Weaving cannot be done as the designs are in digital form. But otherwise the applications are manifold,” Ms. Ezhili says.

From a simple poplin cloth to tiles, the designs can be printed on anything.

Printing trials are on in Tirupur to reproduce the designs on bed sheets, pillow covers, shirts, kids wear, saris and laminated sheets. The natural symmetry and blend of colours have come out well on the printed pillow covers.

The IEDC will also take up training for those interested in learning this art on a cost-basis. But the main idea is to train women of self-help groups to develop designs and get them printed to make them self-reliant.


“This will serve as an ideal entrepreneurial exposure to students. We are planning to involve SHG women because this is a cost-effective and profitable venture to provide them economic independence,” she says.

She believes that many printers will be eager to adapt these biological designs. Her next focus is on making the printing of these designs possible on Kancheepuram saris.

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