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Ajrakh, cotton silk stole, vegetable dyes, eco-friendly, Kutch, Gujarat

Hand-block printed using natural colours on cotton silk, this Ajrakh stole is a must have piece in your wardrobe. Pair it with plain kurtas, tees or even formal shirts. A perfect twist to everyday wear.

L : 78 Inches W : 26 Inches
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The rich colours and intricate designs of Ajrakh stand in stark contrast to the white landscape of the Rann of Kutch. Located in the historically significant spots of the Indus valley civilization and the Silk route, the patterns evoke a sense of Sufism. The geometric precision of the Islamic star pattern from the Arab desert combined with floral references from the fertile lands of the Indus plains forms the basis of the Ajrakh patterns. Ajrakh came to Kutch from the Sindh provinces of present day Pakistan. In my many travels, I have come across Muslim Khatris from Kutch, Gujarat and the Hindu Khatris from Barmer, Rajasthan print the same designs though separated by hundreds of miles.

Ajrakh is an art of perfection. A resist dyeing technique that involves tedious printing over multiple days and in several processes. All materials used in printing are natural and eco-friendly. First, the base fabric is treated with Harada, a colour fixer. The yellow coloured fabric is then printed with a resin in areas that need not be dyed. The fabric is then dyed with the first colour. This colour is fixed in areas not resisted by the resin covering. The fabric is then washed to remove the resin and the whole process is followed for the next colour and so on. The highly complex science of using the right quantity of materials to make dyes has been perfected over time. However changes in monsoon and thereby water quality causes distinct changes in the final product making each piece a work of art.

Water is the key element of Ajrakh printing and the iron content in it determines the quality of the final product. Dhamadka was the centre of Ajrakh printing for a long time owing to a favorable source of water. But after the 2001 earthquake, the iron content increased dramatically and the water become unusable. So the artisans from Dhamadka moved to a new base and called it 'Ajrakhpur'. Understanding the fragile eco-system, they have taken steps to harvest water.

The changing times have called for various changes, both in design and in utility. But the beauty of the traditional have stood the test of time. With flourishing clusters aross both India and Pakistan, Ajrakh is proof that art transcends fickle national boundaries.

L : 78 Inches W : 26 Inches

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