India has always been a country appreciated for its unity in diversity. The nation is one of the biggest multicultural societies one can find in the world. What comes with this multicultural environment is derivatives and representations of every culture and place unique to itself.
Be it the food, the music or the art there’s a lot of different elements that show the true reflection of a culture. One of the biggest and most influential of these are the art forms of India.
Being a nation of vibrance, color and diversity, it isn't surprising that there are a lot of different art forms seeping out of different places across the country. An important and unique manifestation of Indian artforms is seen in the textile portfolio of the country.
Textiles and fabrics, as is an essential commodity. Be it for apparel, religious or decorative purposes, textiles play an important role. Turning the world into their canvas, artists of India have for years been employed to create fine textiles that are not just texturally but also aesthetically distinct.
There are a lot of different textiles coming from different cities and states of India, each with its own set of qualities and uniqueness. Diving into the world of Indian textiles is a great idea, whether you are a designer or simply someone looking to give their space a touch of tradition and beauty, then you are at the right place.
We are going to take you through some of the finest textiles of India to help you pin down your best fit.
Here are some leaves out of the beautiful book of Indian Textiles:
BAGH PRINT, MADHYA PRADESH
First up on the list are the beautiful and simple Bagh Print textiles hailing from Madhya Pradesh. The tradition of bagh print is over a thousand years old. While its roots lay firmly in Madhya pradesh, the bagh print is fairly popular across the country. The bagh print is an all organic work.
The very name of the print “bagh'' is the hindi word for garden. Most motifs and patterns of the bagh print take cues from nature’s elements. From leaves to flowers to trees, blended with a simpler geometrical approach, the bagh print has a very neat and simplistic look.
Bagh print work is mostly done on lighter fabrics such as cotton. Apart from the lovely natural motifs, the bagh prints are organic even in its production. The dyes used to create the beautiful patterns are all drawn organically through alizarin, alum and iron filings. The natural dyes have a rather earthy quality and hue to them making the textiles the humble rustic beauty that they are.
Bagh print textiles are great picks for your bedding, or curtains. Since the fabric is light and the colors airy, bagh prints can help give your home a light refresh.
IKAT FABRICS, ODISHA
Next up are the simply graceful ikat fabrics of Odisha. The ikat textiles are a standout technique and design. Originating in Odisha, the ikat practice had actually migrated to other states of India as well and has continued to be practiced for over a century.
Unlike most forms which include printing, painting or dying pieces of fabrics, the ikat journey starts from a thin strand of yarn. The ikat textiles have a unique pattern and build starts from the thread stage. Threads of yarn are bound together in pieces and dyed separately in different colors and hues before being woven into a piece of fabric.
The ikat pattern is rather unique, as it is made to look as if colors are bleeding through the blurry pattern of the fabric. The effect is created through the fine craftsmanship, and one of the longest production cycles. The Ikat fabric has an abstract quality approached in a traditional way making it a unique textile.
From monochromes, to bold colors, the Ikat textiles have a lot of range giving you the option to make an easy pick. You could add Ikat curtains, cushions, tablecloths or even coat your furniture in ikat upholstery to embrace the look.
KALAMKARI WORK, ANDHRA PRADESH
One of the most beautiful and fine productions of the Indian textile’s industry is the Kalamkari work. While the exact point of origin for Kalamkari is not known, it has been practiced largely in Andhra Pradesh for several decades now. Out of all the different types and styles, the Kalamkari work is probably one that depicts the folk art of India the best.
At a glance, one could mistake a kalamkari fabric for a literal work of art. Kalamkari work is extremely fine and delicate. On a fabric, artists use a delicate tamarind pen to outline beautiful designs which are then filled in with vibrant, naturally sourced dyes to complete the art of kalamkari.
The name kalamkari is homage to the kalam or pen which is used to create extremely fine details on the fabrics. The kalamkari textiles are a true reflection of modern and ancient India with elements such as flowers, leaves, trees, kingdoms, elephants, peacocks amongst others drawn to perfection.
For anyone looking to add a traditional flair, or a reflection of Indian art in their homes, kalamkari is a top notch pick. From furnishings to wall tapestry, kalamkari can fit in anywhere.
BATIK PRINT, GUJARAT
The Batik Print of Gujarat is a crucial part of Indian history. India is considered as the first nation to have mastered the resist printing technique which is the basis of the Batik Print. The batik print utilizes the resist printing approach to create stellar fabric designs.
The process begins similarly to kalamkari with designs and motifs being outlined onto the fabric. However, the difference lies in the material used. Batik print utilizes a particular wax that is resistant to dye colors to outline the basic designs. After the designs are set in, the fabric is dyed in one or more colors and washed. This results in the beautiful batik pieces of fabric.
The design outlines, due to the wax, do not absorb the dye, and remain intact, while the areas of fabric around to soak up the color giving it a fun and gorgeous look. The batik print has a fairly simple look, and has a very natural feel to it making it a great pick for minimalist or traditional homes.
You could otp for batik print furnishings, rugs or even rugs to give your home a little extra charm.
AARI WORK, KASHMIR
From the paradise on earth, Kashmir, comes the elegant and vibrant Aari work. The arri work specifically refers to a particular embroidered textile that has been a rather popular pick amongst homeowners for ages.
Aari work furnishings and wall tapestry in particular has been prevalent across the nation and even in other countries and for all the right reasons. The aari work is extremely fine and well defined. This is because the focus is solely on creating patterns and designs through complex and elaborate thredwork.
This textile utilizes no dyes or paints, rather relies solely on the colors of the thread. Through a thick needle, often referred to as the aari, artisans carve beautiful motifs onto the fabric, mostly inspired by birds or floral patterns. The illustrations are extremely elaborate with a lot of different colors and sometimes even adornments for added effect.
The aari style also has a lot of influences from the mughal era of India, which is reflected in the persian influences in the design in terms of colors and patterns. The aari work is a class apart and a great pick if you want to give your home a subtle yet gorgeous addition.
From wall tapestries, to furniture covers, or simply through smaller furnishings, you can include a piece of heaven in your home through aari fabrics.
Overall, the world of Indian textiles is rather extraordinary and vibrant. From Kashmir to Andhra Pradesh, different states have their own take on textiles, each no less than works of art. In contemporary homes, small tweaks such as Indian textiles can help one stay in touch with their roots while keeping alive the spirit of India’s diversity, one fabric at a time.