The making of traditional Kalamkari sarees involves an intricate process. The name Kalamkari is resultant from two Persian words; ‘kalam’ (pen) and ‘kari’ (craftsmanship). Kalamkari art is made through an exhaustive and highly refined process that involves 23 steps. Kalamkari art came into being through travelling folk singers and painters who used to describe Hindu mythology in the villages they came across which slowly took the shape of canvas painting.
There are two recognizable styles of Kalamkari art in India. The Machilipatnam style of Kalamkari, themes are printed with hand-carved blocks with elaborate detailing painted by hands. The Srikalahasti style of painting draws motivation from the Hindu tradition relating scenes from the classics and folklore. This style holds a solid religious link because of its origin in the temples of olden times.
The Kalamkari takes design inspiration from forts, palaces and temples of India, and also utilizes animals and birds motifs. And Kalamkari also uses mythical characters like Krishna-Arjuna from Mahabharata, Lord Krishna, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Buddha etc.
The kalamkari cotton online fabric undergoes tons of process which avoids smudging of dyes in the fabric when it is painted with natural dyes. After which the fabric is washed under running water to get free of the odour. The fabric similarly, is washed twenty times and dried up under the sun. As soon as the fabric is ready for painting, the artist’s sketch motifs and designs on the fabric. Post this, the Kalamkari artists make dyes using natural sources to fill colours inside the drawings.
Kalamkari art largely uses earthy colours like indigo, mustard, rust, black and green. Natural dyes are utilized to paint colours in Kalamkari art, which is extracted from natural sources with no use of chemicals and artificial matter.