Mesmerising blocks

Designs created on sari with hand blocks.  

This is hand block design magic at its most alluring, morphing the sari into a work of wearable art. Creating fields of larger-than-life chrysanthemums, roses, lilies, nargis, amries and unending convoluted curves dramatically poised against blurred zig zags and arabesques. Bathed in multicoloured hues with flowers and leaves with minute detailing and contrasted with pallus and borders which might vary from stunning geometric composition in bright colours to a canvas of striking stripes. The ‘Sari Mela’ currently on view in the city with its classic contemporary touch is a collection of haute winners, bringing together the ethereally delicate weaves of Maheswari and Chanderi with bold designer block drama in rare combinations. Each of the saris designed by Ranjana Singh is unique.

“I was never formally trained and started hand block printing as a hobby. MP’s Commissioner of Handloom was keen that I work on saris from Madhya Pradesh and so Maheswarari Chanderi and Tussar became my preferred choice.” Her choice of spectacular floral, abstract, traditional and geometric motifs is the result of a keen sense of aesthetics and observation. “I study design books and old fabrics and essentially look at the immense beauty of nature for inspiration. Once I have a design or motif, hereditary block makers (from Farrukhabad) take over. We soak the blocks in water for 15 days for best results. Mine are teakwood blocks.

Ranjana travels to Maheswar and Kota to get the saris and does the block printing with the help of other hand block artisans. “Once the printing is done,” says the designer “the sari is sun-dried, steamed and ready.”

Ranjana Singh’s collection at the “Sari Mela” is mesmerising. It includes Maheshwari silk cotton with huge red chrysanthemums on a beige background of muted zig zags, a mehandi green Maheshwari with stripes, “khadi” design and gold border, a Chanderi celebrating enormous white chrysanthemums all over with green leaves and a golden Chanderi with huge red and black ‘amris’ all over. The Sari Mela also has a wide variety of cotton saris in Bagru, Dabu and Bagh prints.

On view at Mrignayanee , TNSB Complex, 180 Luz Church Road, Mylapore, till June 26.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 12:35:28 PM |

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