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  • You must have been familiar with aloe vera gel for skin care or even its extract for health care but you might be quite surprised about sarees made of aloe vera. After being tremendously used for offering magical glow, the very herb has landed a job in wardrobes of Indian women in the form of sarees.
  • Weavers of Anakaputhur district of Tamil Nadu have been experimenting with aloe vera fibers for making colorful sarees. Until now, these weavers were making traditional sarees made from natural fibers like cotton and silk. However, due to ever rising prices of yarn, they have commenced finding other options for making their sarees. Firstly, they made use of banana fibre while now they have started making use of fibre from Aloe vera plant. As per their thinking, sarees made from Aloe Vera fibre are in great demand and weavers of today earn very well.

INTRODUCTION :

Hand block printing, a craft handed down through generations is in the forefront of the fashion scene today. The ancient craft has seen a major revival over the last two decades and has moved away from its traditional rural centers to the metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore.
India has been renowned for its printed and dyed cotton cloth since the 12th century and the creative processes flourished as the fabric received royal patronage.Though the earliest records mention the printing centers in the south, the craft seems to have been prevalent all over India. Surat in Gujarat became a prominent center for trade of painted and printed textiles. The major items produced were wall hangings, canopies and floor spreads in rich natural colors.

HISTORY :

Records show that as far back as the 12th century, several centers in the south, on the western and eastern coasts of India became renowned for their excellent printed cotton. On the southeastern coast the brush or kalam (pen) was used, and the resist applied by the same method. In the medieval age printing and dyeing of cottons was specially developed in Rajasthan. In Gujarat the use of wooden blocks for printing was more common.

Tents were created from printed fabrics and became a necessary part of royal processions. The seasons largely influenced the integration of the highly creative processes of weaving, spinning, dyeing and printing. Festivals also dictated this activity.

trade in cotton cloth is said to have existed between India and Babylon from Buddha's time. Printed and woven cloths traveled to Indonesia, Malaya and the Far East. In the 17th century, Surat was established as a prominent center for export of painted and printed calicos, covering an extensive range in quality. Cheaper printed cloth came from Ahmedabad and other centers, and strangely enough Sanganer was not such a famous center for printing as it is today.

In fact the prints of these areas seem to be quite similar. The Bagru and Sanganeri prints cannot be easily distinguished but if one looks carefully each has its own typical characteristics. The Sanganer prints are always on a white background, whereas the Bagru prints are essentially in red and black. Farukhabad is famous for its artistry and intricacy of design. Pethapur near Ahmedabad is known for the finest block printing. Banaras block makers design their blocks to suit fine silk printing - sometimes each design has seven colors.

Block designs

get bigger and bolder and the delicacy is lost as one moves towards the south or towards Calcutta. Today, Andhra Pradesh is a large center for hand block printing. Hyderabad is the home of the very popular Lepakshi prints. It is quite amazing how the same motif can be interpreted in different forms. Ajarakh prints,popular even today originated in Gujarat involving a resist print, primarily intended for garments for men.

THE PROCESS OF HAND BLOCK PRINTING :

Block printing has become popular because the simple process can create such sensational prints in rich and vibrant colors. Originally natural dyes were used but today they have been replaced by chemical and artificial colors. The main colors used are red, the color of love, yellow the color of spring, blue as in Krishna, and saffron of the yogi.

The main tools of the printer are wooden blocks in different shapes and sizes called bunta. Blocks are made of seasoned teak wood by trained craftsmen. The underside of the block has the design etched on it. Each block has a wooden handle and two to three cylindrical holes drilled into the block for free air passage and also to allow release of excess printing paste. The new blocks are soaked in oil for 10-15 days to soften the grains in the timber.

Wooden trolleys with racks have castor wheels fastened to their legs to facilitate free movement. The printer drags it along as he works. On the upper most shelf trays of dye are placed. On the lower shelves printing blocks are kept ready.

The printing starts form left to right. The color is evened out in the tray with a wedge of wood and the block dipped into the outline color (usually black or a dark color). When the block is applied to the fabric, it is slammed hard with the fist on the back of the handle so that a good impression may register. A point on the block serves as a guide for the repeat impression, so that the whole effect is continuous and not disjoined. The outline printer is usually an expert because he is the one who leads the process. If it is a multiple color design the second printer dips his block in color again using the point or guide for a perfect registration to fill in the color. The third color if existent follows likewise. Skill is necessary for good printing since the colors need to dovetail into the design to make it a composite whole. A single color design can be executed faster, a double color takes more time and multiple color design would mean additional labor and more color consumption.

Different dyes are used for silk and cotton. Rapid fast dyes, indigo sol and pigment dyes are cotton dyes. Printing with rapid dyes is a little more complicated as the dyes once mixed for printing have to be used the same day. Standard colors are black, red, orange, brown and mustard. Color variation is little difficult and while printing it is not possible to gauge the quality or depth of color.

It is only after the fabric is processed with an acid wash that the final color is established. Beautiful greens and pinks are possible with indigo sol colors but pigment colors are widely popular today because the process is simple, the mixed colors can be stored for a period of time, subtle nuances of colors are possible, and new shades evolve with the mixing of two or three colors. Also the colors are visible as one prints and do not change after processing. Colors can be tested before printing by merely applying it onto the fabric. The pigment color is made up of tiny particles, which do not dissolve entirely and hence are deposited on the cloth surface while rapid dyes and indigo sols penetrate the cloth.

Pigment colors are mixed with kerosene and a binder. The consistency should be just right, for if it is too thick it gives a raised effect on the material, which spoils the design. Small plastic buckets with lids are ideal for storing the mixed colors over a few days.

Cotton saris after pigment printing are dried out in the sun. This is part of the fixing process. They are rolled in wads of newspapers to prevent the dye form adhering to other layers and steamed in boilers constructed for the purpose. Silks are also steamed this way after printing. After steaming, the material is washed thoroughly in large quantities of water and dried in the sun, after which it is finished by ironing out single layers, which fix the color permanently.

BLOCK PRINTING CREATING - COTTON CLOTH BLOCK BY BLOCK :

Records show that as far back as the 12th century,several centres in the south, on the western and eastern coasts of India became renowned for their excellent printed cotton. On the south eastern coast the brush or kalam (pen) was used, and the resist applied by the same method. In the medieval age printing and dyeing of cottons was specially developed in Rajasthan. In Gujarat the use of wooden blocks for printing was more common.

Tents were created from printed fabrics and became a necessary part of royal processions. The seasons largely influence the integration of the highly creative processes of weaving, spinning, dyeing and printing. Festivals also dictated this activity.

trade in cotton cloth is said to have existed between India and Babylon from Buddha�s time. Printed and woven cloths traveled to Indonesia, Malaya and the Far East.

In the 17th century Surat was established as a prominent centre for export of painted and printed calicos, covering an extensive range in quality. Cheaper printed cloth came from Ahmedabad and other centres, and strangely enough Sanganer was not such a famous centre for printing as it is today. Wall hangings, canopies and floor spreads were created from printed and painted cottons largely in western India for the European market.

Thirty two kilometres east of Jaipur city is a small village called Bagru, where there is a hum of activity even today in the field of hand block printing on textiles, using traditionally patterned blocks, and rich natural colours. There has always been some confusion with regard to Sanganer and Bagru prints which are similar, though actually each has distinct characteristics. Sanganer prints initially were printed on white or off-white backgrounds whereas Bagru prints are essentially in two colours � red and black. Sometimes the fabric is dyed and different colour variations are possible on printed fabric. Commonly, green, black and red are used.

Ajrakh prints, popular even today originated in Gujarat involving a resist print, primarily intended for garments for men.

It is possible that when the search was on in alchemic laboratories for the elixir of life to free the body and mind from the pressures of life and ageing, the researchers stumbled on to medicinal plants like harda, myrobalan. The by-products were doubtless invaluable in the process of dyeing and bleaching and even till to day many plants used in archaic dyeing processes are found listed and described in Ayurvedic medical texts.

In India every craft has sprung up with the influence of religious traditions. The finest creations of craftsmen were prepared for rituals and the most skilled of dyers,painters, weavers have congregated around main centres of religious worship. India has always been sensitive to colours, which has formed the basis of poetic inspiration, of music, surcharged with the subtle nuances of mood. Red was the colour of love, and madder being fast it could not be washed away.

Yellow was the colour of spring, filled with blossoms and the cry of mating birds. Nila or indigo was the colour of Krishna who is like a rain filled cloud. Gerwa or saffron, was the colour of the yogi, the seer who renounces the earth.

Most Recent Customer Reviews

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Beige net resham embroidered saree. Available with matching blouse, blouse shown in the image is just for photography purpose. (Slight variation in color and patch border is possible.)
   superb
By sunu from merseyside united kingdom on 5/9/2013 11:43:37 PM
Bottom Line : Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
Comments :gorgeous saree, looks even better than the photograph, amazing, very happy with this saree.
 
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By Texan from Texas on 5/8/2013 8:58:52 AM
Bottom Line : Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
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   I LOVE IT
By Mahreen from NEW JERSEY on 5/17/2013 5:34:45 AM
Bottom Line : Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.
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   Superb Saree
By Devi from Melbourne on 5/17/2013 5:20:06 AM
Bottom Line : Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
Comments :Saree is just as same as photo...thanks to utsav to sell such a beautiful and latest designed sarees....i want to say just one word...that .....I loved it.........
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