Kutch has a wealth of
traditional crafts, not only in textiles, but also woodcarving, cast
silver work, lacquer work, terracotta pottery. Houses are often
decorated with designs made from mud, cow or camel dung, clay slip,
and mirrors. The major textile techniques for which Kutch is famous
are listed below:
There are four main block printing techniques done in Kutch.
- Direct block printing is just that. The block is dipped
into dye and printed directly onto the fabric.
- Resist block printing is achieved when the block is dipped
into a dye resist paste, usually tamarind seed paste and lime, then
printed onto fabric which is then dyed and the resist paste is
removed to reveal the undyed fabric underneath.
- Complex patterns can be made with both direct and resist
block printing using different blocks to build up layers of images
and color . Ajrakh block printing is a special style of direct
block printing for which Kutch is particularly famous. Traditional
Ajrakh designs can be traced back several centuries to Persia
(Iran). Real Ajrakh is done with natural indigo and madder dyes.
- Discharge block printing is a chemical process whereby the
fabric is first dyed with one color, then printed with another. It
is rolled and steamed which causes the original dye to disperse
under the block print, giving a two color design.
- Batik block printing is a wax resist technique. The block
is dipped into wax and printed onto fabric which is then dyed and
the wax removed.
Tie Dye (Bandhini)
Tie dye in Kutch is extremely fine. Designs are carefully built up
in a number of colors, starting with the lightest and working
through to the darkest. Designs are usually lightly printed with
block made up of small dots. The crafts man or woman will then tie
tiny knots where the dots are shown. The parts of the design to be
in the lightest color will remain knotted throughout the process,
but as each new color is applied, some of the knots will be
strategically untied allowing the color to penetrate.
Shawls and rugs are woven in cotton, wool, and even camel hair.
Traditional designs are a distinctive style with bands of simple
geometric shapes such as stripes, diamonds, triangles, star shapes,
and chevrons. Although Ikat weaving is not traditional to Kutch, one
weaver has recently introduced this technique, in which the pattern
is achieved by tying and dying either the warp or the weft before
weaving. In Kutch, Ikat is a luxury item, always done in silk.
See Types of Embroidery