This gorgeous craft is more than just a craft, it is a blend of tradition and culture. Learn step by step how a delicate Ajrakh is created.
Winning all hearts, Ajrakh has become a heartthrob not just in India but worldwide. The intricate and ethnic design along with a perfect balance of vibrant colors makes it irresistible.
Rooting back to the land of mirages, Rajasthan, Ajrakh printing is a beauty. What makes it more exquisite is the effort and physical labor that goes into the whole process. The multidimensional process includes multiple stages. Starting from the most famous natural material-based indigo and blue dyes to wooden blocks used for the printing, Ajrakh printing demands a craftsman's sweat and soul. Here is a brief on how your Ajrakh is made so impeccable and gorgeous:Origin
Ajrakh is a form of block-printing found in Sindh, Pakistan. Over the years, Ajrakh has become a symbol of the Sindhi culture and traditions. Ajrakh print is also famous in neighboring areas of India in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat
Ajrakh - The whole process
In the first stage of creating an Ajrakh, the cotton fabric is washed thoroughly. Washing the cloth helps in removing the excess starch in it. To wash the cotton fabric, a mixture of camel dung. Castor oil and soda ash are used. After soaking and washing the fabric with this mixture thoroughly, the fabric is dried overnight. This complete process of washing and drying is done almost for 8-9 times so that the fabric foams when rubbed. Once the fabric starts foaming, it is soaked in water for the final finish which is known as Saaj.‘
The second stage is called the process of Kasanu. In this process, the fabric is made ready for printing by dying it in a cold solution of Myrobalan. Myrobalan is used so that it can ensure that the print sticks to the fabric and stays put.Stage 3:
The third stage is called Khariyanu. In this stage, a wooden block is used to print multiple times on the fabric to create an outline. A resist of lime and gum is used to print the outline on the fabric. What is more intricate in this stage is the wooden block that is used and has been crafted by a master craftsman. The wooden block consists of a very complex motif that is first traced on a wooden block and then carved by the craftsman. Teak wood is used for carving these blocks. After carving the woodblock, it is oiled and the edges are smoothened.
One of the most commonly used dyes in Ajrakh printing is indigo. The process of making this natural dye consists of making a mixture of natural indigo, lime, water, Sagikhar, and Casiatora in a clay vessel. Once the mixture is ready, it is left for fermentation for more than a month. After proper fermentation, the color of the solution turns yellow, indicating that the dye is ready.
Once the dye and the block are ready, finally the process of printing the fabric starts. This can take up to 12-15 days depending upon the length of the fabric and the intricacy of the design. Some of the most used motifs in Ajrakh are flowers, moons, stars, and birds.
The sixth stage is called Vichharun. In this stage, after the tiring process of printing, the cloth is washed thoroughly under running water and spread flat to dry.
In the seventh stage, a solution of lime and turmeric is used. This solution is sprayed on the cloth. This increases the sustainability of the print along with enhancing the colors.
The final stage starts with washing the cloth in an alum solution. After that, the fabric is washed in plain water and dried. Once the fabric is all dried up, it becomes ready to use!
Divided into 8 stages and a span of months, this process is not only tiring but also extremely complex and delicate. One small mistake and all your efforts can go into vain. Which is why each piece of Ajrakh is an art in itself. The effort and soul invested by the craftsmen are beyond compare. And that is why this craft will stay close to our hearts and will always be a special one!
Khinkhwab Ajrakh Products
If you are looking at supporting handmade and buy Handloom Banarasi silk attires online, you can find them all in this one-stop-shop Khinkhwab - The Essence of Banaras