Sunday, June 19, 2011


The ancient Indian fabric technique of 'painting' colors onto fabric that has a block printed design (florals and paisleys being some of the most popular) is known as Kalamkari. A pen made from bamboo or a date palm branch is pointed at one end with a slit containing either fine hairs or cotton fibers.This pen is then dipped into 'colors' which are 'painted' onto the fabric.

Traditionally the 'colors' are all natural dyes from tree bark, leaves, flowers, fruits and roots. Several layers of color are applied. Natural mordants like iron and alum are also used to fix the colors. The fabric is then washed and dried numerous times to brighten the design colors and clear the background.


For centuries Kalamkari fabric was exported from India to Asia and the Middle East. It's introduction into Europe late in the 16th century was a huge success! The Portuguese called this fabric Pintado, the Dutch referred to it as Sitz while the British used the word most familiar to us today....Chintz.

The solution to the 'Color and Motif' crossword puzzle is shown at the bottom of this page. Thank you to those who participated.

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