What is Kalamkari?
Kalamkari is a traditional folk art that originated in Andhra Pradesh. The word Kalamkari comes from Persian words ‘ghalam’ and ‘kari’ that together mean ‘drawing or crafting with a pen’, and was coined by the Mughal rulers who patronised the art form. The drawings are either hand-painted or block-printed and are done with bamboo and then filled in with rich, beautiful vegetable dyes. Like most of our Indian folk arts, Kalamkari initially developed depicting religious themes and was found on temple wall hangings and royal chariot banners.
How do I use Kalamakari?
Today, Kalamkari patterns on fabrics make beautiful saris, kurtas and dupattas that can be found in most Indian clothing stores. But these gorgeous textiles can also be a part of your home in many ways.
A simple wall-hanging could liven up a plain taupe wall. You could add a romantic touch to your home with a Kalamkari lampshade. The effect of gentle light passing through the patterned cloth can be quite soothing. Kalamkari can also give a beautiful ethnic feel to your bedroom in the form of sheets, cushion covers or bedspreads.
Pick up a piece with a motif that speaks to you and it could do wonders to a room… especially if you love that delicious vegetable dye fragrance. A room can even be planned around the basic colours of the selected print.
A word of caution though, natural vegetable dyes fade over time, so make sure to dry clean only and keep it away from direct sunlight!
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