Crafty work

HAND-PRINTED textiles are back in vogue. There's a rush for such items, for they're a class apart when compared to the usual machine-printed variety. For one thing, each piece is invidualistic, and you can be sure the one you've got is almost certainly "one of a kind''.

Lavanya Craft Shop, run by the non-profit Shivanjali Trust, has now come to the rescue of this craft, which is in dire straits because of the lack of skilled practitioners.

They've got a variety of Bagh fabrics on display: Sarees, cushion covers, bed-spreads and table cloths, besides a number of other fancy items. These printed textiles are from Bagh, a small place in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. They've been block-printed by hand, to give them their uniqueness.

What's special about Bagh print? Well, the craftspersons use popular colours... vegetable and natural dyes like indigo, turmeric roots, pomegranate skin, lac and iron, to create the "rich yet subtle'' look... in shades of red, black and indigo.

Local people refer to those who produce the textiles as "chheepa", which could be derived from the Hindi "chhapna'', which means "printing''.

More information? Ring: Lavanya Craft Shop: 438255; Annalakshmi Garden: 438266; Annalakshmi Race Course: 212142; Dr. Uma Deavi: 98422-43703; or Hema Raguram: 98422-43413.

It's a three-day expo, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., February 1 to 3. "At Shivanjali, we encourage such exquisite crafts in our own humble way. We feel it is our privilege to preserve India's rich cultural heritage,'' say the organisers.

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