Kalamkari work is a very popular and ancient art work in India that refers to the method of painting natural dyes in fabrics that range from cotton to silk, with the help of a pen or 'kalam'. This kind of a fabric decoration was a significant product of trade and commerce in ancient India, the main focus of which was in Andhra Pradesh. The centers of kalamkari work in Andhra Pradesh are Srikalahasti and Machilipatnam.
History of Kalamkari Work :
The traditional art form of Kalamkari work can be traced back to the time period between 13th and 19th centuries in Andhra Pradesh. Srikalahasti in Andhra Pradesh developed as a major center for kalamkari work because of the steady supply of clean an flowing water it received from the river. (water being a major necessary component in Kalamkari work). The kalamkari work from Andhra Pradesh was a major source of trade and was sent to many international locations around the world. This form of Indian textiles was also used as a form of currency in spice trade. Since then, the kalamkari work has also been modernized with newer themes that are heavily influenced by Persian motifs, Hindu mythology and religious symbols.
There was a time before 1950 when this art of kalamkari work almost died due to ignorance. But soon, because of the acceptability and demand of kalamkari worldwide, there has been a revival of the art form, thanks to the efforts of the government and the crafts men behind these paintings.Read more about crafts of Andhra Pradesh.
Origin of Kalamkari Work :
The origin of the term comes from the 'Kalam' (From Persian word Ghalam) meaning pen and 'kari' meaning craftmanship. In kalamkari work, the artist makes the use of pens which are specially crafted from bamboo for the purpose. After the textile is woven, it is dipped in a mix of milk and natural dyes after which the kalamkari design is made with pen. These kalamkari paintings make elaborate and intricate designs with colorful and vibrant vegetable colors. Kalamkari work is seen on different products like saris, drapes, hand towels, wall paintings, prayer rugs, wrappers, bed covers, door covers and dress materials.