Dupattas with dual designs

Gudimetti Divya, a Kalamkari artist  

Ever wondered how kalamkari and ikat come together on dupattas and saris? We know how famous the ikat style of weaving is and we just adore the delicate artwork of kalamkari printing. But one look at the combination of two highly ancient and traditional aesthetics is like watching a sunset at the beach. No two sunsets are the same but each still manages to take your breath away.

The weavers at Pochampally in Telangana along with kalamkari artists at Srikalahasti, Andhra Pradesh, wished to create something new and unique. Knowing fully well that these styles are a great favourite among the fashion community, the fashionistas and their followers, they embarked on a journey to combine the two aesthetics.

Now to do justice to the story of ikat and kalamkari, it is important to know their individual identities. The classic design of ikat that never goes out of fashion is a favourite among fashion and interior designers for its contrasting colours and vibrancy.

Ardent lovers of the kalamkari printing technique definitely appreciate and understand the hard work that goes into the process of creating it. No kalmakari garment would be complete without motifs from Indian mythology, peacocks, elephants, flowers and vines. The vegetable dyes are vibrant, yet lend a rustic touch to the fabric.

Unique dupattas

A common factor between Pochampally ikat and Srikalahasti kalamkari are their similar colours. The basic designs are simple; the horizontal and vertical borders of the dupattas are woven with ikat patterns. The contrast colours form a perfect setting and background for the kalamkari paintings. The generous and bold prints are flanked by solid or colour blocked borders.

Vanam Prakash is a Pochampally weaver who sends dupattas and saris to Srikalahasti for printing. “We wanted to do something different and we realized that since there is a lot of demand for Pochampally and kalamkari designs we tried to combine the two styles. It turned out to be a success in our first attempt itself,” he declares proudly.

Though Pochampally ikat is known for its contrasting border-body colour combination like black with red or mustard yellow, violet with red or orange etc, kalamkari artists prefer a white or cream background. Gudimetti Divya, a kalamkari artist from Srikalahasti, says that the dyes used for printing would look best against muted backgrounds. “On such a base, more colours can be used. The only other colour apart from cream or white could be yellow on which green, red, orange, lavender dyes would be visible,” she adds.

The ikat fabrics have to be treated and prepared for the kalamkari printing process. “The washing, dipping and printing process takes about four days for a dupatta to be completed. Saris take a week to be ready,” explains Divya. Prakash reveals, “Sometimes the kalamkari artists decide on the spot what would look best on the fabrics. But people who place orders also have a say in the colours and motifs based on the border designs of the fabric.”

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 12:21:09 AM |

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