Wednesday 28 September 2011

Indian Batik – Another Ancient Art of Printing on Textiles

The word batik actually means 'wax writing'. Batik, is the way of decorating fabric by using a manual wax resist dyeing process.  Traditional Batik process is known to be used in many countries like Indonesia, Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and India. The process varies slightly depending on the country. Here I am going to talk about the Indian Batik.
Indian Folk Scene in Batik

Traditional Indian Elephant

The history of Indian batik can be traced as far back as 2000 years.  Infact, this art of printing on fabrics originated in India.  Indians are known to use resist method of printing designs on cotton fabrics long before any other nation had even tried it.  Initially wax and even rice starch were used for printing on fabrics.
Indian Batik Art

Batik involves decorating cloth by covering a part of it with a coat of wax and then dyeing the cloth. The waxed areas keep their original color and when the wax is removed the contrast between the dyed and un-dyed areas makes thepattern. There are four basic stages she uses to produce a finished Batik painting: Waxing, Dyeing, Scraping, & Ironing.  It is a simple process but a demanding one.

Tjanting Pens

Until recently batik was made for dresses and tailored garments only but modern batik is livelier and brighter in the form of murals, wall hangings, paintings, household linen, and scarves. Batik is created in several ways. In splash method the wax is splashed or poured onto the cloth. The screen-printing method involves a stencil.  And the traditional hand painting one in which wax is applied with a very thin brush or tjanting pen. Tjanting pens or Canting pens are used where very fine lines are required in the pattern. The beauty of batik lies in its simplicity and  some of the best effects in batik are often achieved by chance.

Monday 26 September 2011

Color of the Year- HONEYSUCKLE!

Pantone LLC, the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, announced  Honeysuckle (PANTONE 18-2120), as the color of the year for 2011.

This  vibrant, energetic hue is also a dominant color in Fall Winter 2011 Fashions. I am so glad Honeysuckle is back in vogue....its always been one of my favorite color. In between red and pink, this hue possesses the qualities of both :  the 'femininity' &  softness of pink and vigor & energy of Red. 
This uplifting and dynamic reddish pink is perfect color to ward off those blues! Its nostalgic yet encouraging  & uplifting; sweet an& Delicious yet strong & powerful! 

It will surely produce a healthy glow when worn by men or women. This 'Alive' color is striking & eye catching, perfect for both day & night. It works great in womens' apparel, accessories and cosmetics as well as  men's shirts, ties and sports wear. Its not just restricted to fashion wear but also interior spaces.  Use of honeysuckle patterned cushions, bed spreads, throws, table top accessories, or small appliances would add a lively flair to any room. Or you can paint a wall or a section in any room to create a dynamic burst of energy. An entire room painted in Honeysuckle though,  would make it over whelming and over powering. 
So, go ahead and experiment with this vigorous, engaging hue. 

Here's a lovely collection of Honeysuckle items that I've curated. To read more about the featured items or to shop, follow this link:

Sunday 25 September 2011

'In the Fall'

I had casually entered one of my Necklace sets for a monthly challenge last month on Shannon's blog : and completely forgot about it, until I received an e-mail from her saying that I was the winner for that challenge. Yippee!! I was very thrilled. Inspired and bubbling with motivation I decided to enter her next challenge: A project featuring the fall colors: amber, burnt orange or fierce orange and red. Since this is not limited to jewelry, I decided to create an Artwork. I've known as a tight painter, so this time I decided to loosen up a bit and create something different. And this is what I came up with:

I had so much fun painting this. I have used varied things to create this mixed media artwork, 'In the Fall' like clay, plaster of Paris, my hand carved wood block stamps from India (that have been shoved away for years), rubber stamps, and fabric (I tore off my husband's T-shirt for!  and the best part is that he doesn't know about it just yet! I hope he'll be happy to see his clothing transformed into an artwork :)

Oh and this is my Necklace set that came out a winner from last month's challenge:

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Trendy, Tantalizing Teals

TEAL, one of my favorites and a prominent color for Fall/Winter 2011 fashions. Deep Teal, a strong, blue-toned green, suggests ocean depths and the color of the sky as daylight descends into darkness. Inspired by this rich color, I have created a Collection of lovely teal items ranging from softer, subtle tones to deeper shades of teal. Enjoy!!

To view this collection on the Artfire website or purchase any of the items featured, follow this link:

Monday 12 September 2011

Process Used in Traditional Indian Textile Block Printing

I talked about the Indian hand carved wood blocks in my previous post. Today, I am going to share with you the process that is, traditionally used to print lovely patterns on the textiles.

Block printing is an ancient Indian art that dates as far back as 12th century. Traditionally, hand carved wood block stamps were used to print on textiles. The art of block printing is very unique and labor intensive process, as it makes every piece of cloth one of a kind and different from others, which cannot be achieved with modern printing techniques using automated machinery. What makes this technique exquisite is the fact that the design has to be first carved onto the wooden block by hand, and then executed on the fabric.

Traditional block printing was done using environment friendly dyes, derived from vegetables,plants, minerals etc. These pigments were mixed with kerosene oil and binder which helps in fixing the colors to the fabric.

First of all, the fabric to be printed is thoroughly washed to make is free of any starch. Then it is dyed to the desired color, if required. Once completely dry, fabric is stretched onto the printing table and secured to it with the help of pins. Care should be taken that there are no ripples in the fabric.

The dyes to be used are placed in trays. These are kept on the uppermost shelf on wooden trolleys while the blocks are put on the lower shelf. Printer drags the trolley along as he works.

If the design requires the use of three, four or more colors in the pattern, the outline block is used first, usually in the darkest color. The block is dipped in the color and pressed hard on the fabric to get a good impression. Then rest of the blocks are carefully placed on the first impression to fill in the other colors, one by one . A point on the block serves as a guide for the repeat impressions.

After the printing is complete, the fabric is dried in sun to fix the colors. Fabric is then rolled in wads of newspapers to prevent the fabric layers from adhering to each other and steamed in boilers constructed for the purpose. After steaming, the material is washed thoroughly in large quantities of water and dried in the sun, after which it is finished by ironing out single layers, which fix the color permanently.
India has been renowned for its hand block printed and dyed textiles in cotton and silk. It is the essence of India and the crafts that make India stand out in the world and skill passed through many generations and should be preserved. Block Printing is one of the numerous arts and crafts that are slowly dyeing and need to be renewed and brought back to life.

Thursday 8 September 2011

Found The Lost Treasure-Indian Hand Carved Wood Block Stamps

Yay! I made one big discovery yesterday, while unpacking the moving boxes that were shoved off in garage since a couple of years. I found my old wood stamp blocks that I had purchased during my stay in India. Ever since I decided to convert my jewelry making hobby into profession, I had not even looked at these, forget about using them. But now I can't wait to use these and create interesting projects. The intricately hand carved designs and patterns on them are extremely beautiful. OMG! My mind is overflowing with the ideas. Okay! Before I go on and on about this, let me tell you more about these functional pieces of art.

Indian Hand carved wood blocks were traditionally used to print on textiles using natural dyes derived from plants, and other organic sources. But the possibilities for their use are endless. You can also use these wooden stamps for stamping or printing on paper, fabrics, wallpaper, doing temporary henna tattoos, scrapbooking, and impressing clay, tiles, ceramics, handmade soaps etc. They can be used practically anywhere; just use your imagination! I have used them in one of my Mixed Media Artwork and fabrics. I'll share the pictures of these with you in my next post.

These are carved out from various seasoned woods, including teak wood but a majority are carved of sustainably harvested brown hard Indian sheesham wood (also known as Indian Rosewood - a member of the Teak family). These stamps are carved by skilled craftsmem. Design is etched on the underside of the block. Two to three cylindrical holes are drilled into the block for free air passage and also to allow release of excess printing paste/dye. The newly carved blocks are soaked in oil, usually mustard oil for 10-15 days to soften the grains in the timber.

Block Printing is an ancient Indian art of printing, especially on fabrics & textiles, dating as far back as the 12th century. Now nearly a lost art, this handcraft work will soon be lost to modern printing techniques like automated web presses and silk screening that is replacing handmade, hand carved wood print blocks.

In an effort to promote and preserve this form of art, I came up with this post and also added some of my unused blocks for sale in my etsy shop. In my future posts I'll tell you more about this ancient art and how these blocks were used to print on textiles. Till then, have fun and Enjoy the weekend!!

Friday 2 September 2011

I Miss the Ocean Breeze

Here I am, after a long break. There's been a lot going on. Now that the thing have settled down a bit, I am back. How much I missed you all. Anyways, Summer is over(well, nearly), Fall is here, and as the winter is approaching, I am clinging on to the sweet memories of summer, those days at the beach, the cool ocean breeze and the treasures of the ocean. To cherish these I created a Treasury of lovely ocean themed items from crafty etsians.

I love the cool blues in this nostalgic collection. Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Here's the link to my Curated Treasury for today: