They say, “old is gold”, so how about the age old art and designs? Aren’t they just like gold too or may be a little over it? Well, such a prestigious one is Ajrakh printing. A lot amongst us would have seen such a print however not aware of what it is known or referred to as. Ask a Sindhi friend and you’ll get to know how special it is in their tradition. Ajrakh printing is done with the help of blocks ever since it came into existence. It is believed that it originated from the times of Mohenjo-Daro aka the much known Indus Valley Civilization.
Earlier, only Sindhi or Jat communities were seen wearing turbans made from Ajrakh. But now you’d see even urban houses possess some really beautiful Ajrakh clothes. In fact, a lot of women have started to love it so much that they not only have some sarees but even bed sheets made out if this fabric. Now, it doesn’t just gets printed on cotton but a lot of other fabrics too like silk as an example.
We are living in an era where we talk about sustainable living for the sake of the environment, so do we ever think about giving heed to the artisans who are engaged in so patiently in crafting such wonderful designs. Such are the Ajrakh makers. Yes, when we say that it’s a printing done with the help of blocks, it just doesn’t mean that you put some dye on the block and start the printing. It involves massive hard work and an eye for detail. And above all, an abundance of patience because the ultimate result of the printing is seen after a few days and not immediately.
A Sneak Peek into the Age-Old Art
Though Ajrakh printing process happens to be a long one, we’d still try to give you a quick glimpse of some important steps, so here it goes:
- The initial step towards the printing is to make the blocks which in itself is a very tedious task.
- The blocks are mostly found to be rectangular in shape and are made out of teak wood.
- Blocks are generally rectangular and made of teak wood.
- The next step is even more interesting because it is the step of conditioning the blocks.
Subjugated by the vibrant deep red and lovely indigo colors.The dyes happen to be made from vegetables and are absolutely natural and not synthetic (essentially the reason for the fast colors).The water quality and quantity have to be consistent else it can affect the color.The blocks are multifaceted and geometrical in nature and all in all, it is a 14 step process if we talk about the entire printing process.
Ajrakh’s has seen an immense increase in its demand in India as well as abroad. The designs are mostly traditional and have remained constant for a long while. Initially, both the side of the cloth were printed and that too with the same design, in this way it could be worn either way.However, over a period of time, it was realized that its becoming a very expensive process keeping in mind the increase in the costs for everything, be it the labor or raw materials. Thus, printing just on one side of the fabric continued.
Lately, a secular turn has been added to its designs too. Elephants and peacocks, geometrical patterns, flowers etc. are mainly the designs that are dominating Ajrakh for years now.
You’d be amazed to know that there stands a beautiful village called Ajrakhpur. This village came into being after the drastic earthquake of 2001 that almost dissolved a major part of Gujarat. This devastation had increased the iron content in the groundwater levels, which forced the craftsmen to move to a place which became the home to Ajrakh’s evolution yet again.The village is in 15 kms from Bhuj and is filled with the exclusive craftsmen or the Ajrakh makers as we may call them, who create the amazing Ajrakh motifs and much more.
It seems that John Henrik Clarke said right” A people’s relationship to their heritage is the same as the relationship of a child to its mother.”
Where can you buy Ajrakh fabric and products?
A lot is going into saving Ajrakh and there are a lot of people showing interest in taking it up seriously as Ajrakh fabric manufacturers.Today, the craftsmen are proud to work with some of the leading fashion designers too, thanks to the revolution in the fashion industry.There’s no doubt that Ajrakh has created a little place for itself and is seen in various exhibitions, educational summits etc too.
With no second thoughts, we would second it and back it up as it is sure a treasure that needs to be revived and generate a lot of buyers.
Let’s see which all websites can help you own this beauty with the help of a simple click:
So, my dear readers, time to show some love for the beautiful and rich Ajrakh!!