Baandhani is one of the oldest surface decoration techniques on textiles found in India. Baandhani has been developed in the Indian subcontinent and has expanded to Japan and China since time immemorial.
Baandhani was produced in Gujarat since the first century. The women of certain communities in Gujarat and Rajasthan are adept in this craft and are quite well-versed in handling them commercially.
- The fabric is first washed to remove any existing chemicals.
- The design is then created in the form of a wooden block or stencil on special paper.
- The design is then transferred to the fabric from the stencil or the block.
- The fabric is distributed to women for tying.
- The tied fabric is then sent to master dyer for dyeing where it is dried and opened.
At Neelgar, we predominantly work with women artisans based in Gujarat. The tying process takes one month to one year depending upon the complexity of design and number of dots to be tied. The complex process ensures that baandhani saris and dresses retain beautiful textures and patterns for many years on silk products.
Check out our Baandhani collection here
Block printing is a well-known craft practiced in India since centuries. Several block-printed fabrics have been excavated in Egypt in volumes, while Romans used them in the medieval times owing to flourishing British trade. The block prints of Gujarat and the hand-painted Kalamkaari’s of southern India have influenced textiles and designs considerably over the years.
At Neelgar, we are working with Gujarat-based artisans of block printing. We are opting to revive a few forgotten block printing techniques and introducing contemporary methods for poor artisans in villages.
- Wooden blocks are created for printing on the fabric
- Draw the pattern and designs on perfectly cut wooden piece
- Sculpt the block, according to the pattern.
- Once the block is ready, its sharpness is tested on a rough paper.
The basic principle of block printing is to transfer patterns from the wooden block onto the fabric using dyes and other materials. A wide variety of processes can be found, depending on the fabric used including cotton and silk. The dye material could be natural or chemical and devoid of direct application. Ajrakh, Saudagiri, Porbandari, Khadi, Dhabu etc, are some of the common names of block-printed fabrics. We manufacture our offerings from Gujarat and Rajasthan, the two main centers of block printing presently.
Check out our Block printing collection here
Leher implies the soundless waves of the ocean and Leheriya derives its name from the word, as it floats across the air. The Leheriya technique uses tie and dye and is practiced in Rajasthan by a small community.
Neelgar helps the community to recreate lost patterns created by dyers historically. Our method utilizes real samples from antique dealers and then these rare samples are recreated. Our non-commercial organic colors are leveraged to deliver new designs each and every season
- The fabric is rolled lengthwise and twisted tightly.
- The threads need to be hand twisted by people.
- A big nail is fixed in the workplace and the twisted fabric is tied to the same nail, from one corner and tied to the other end.
- All bands of thread are tied evenly and efficiently.
- Once they are tied, the product is dyed in cold dyes and ensured that it does not seep.
- Once the dyeing is done, the threads are let loose by skilled hands.
- For a second or third colour, the fabric needs to be rolled in different directions after being opened, retied and dyed.
Chemical dyes were discovered in the 1800s but were adopted by several countries worldwide by 1950. It took a lot of effort to convince artisans and craftsmen to learn a new skill. Natural dye processes include loads of labour but have evolved considerably ever since.
At Neelgar, we are keen in using natural dyes in the clothes we make. We often teach, encourage, and sell natural dyed products to markets in India and worldwide.
- Pre-processing of fabrics differ from one another.
- Cotton fabric takes a lot of time and is laborious with lots of pre-processing involved
- Silk just needs to be soaked in hot water for 5-6 hours
- Soft dye materials like flowers and petals need to be soaked for 5-10 hours
- Barks or roots should be soaked for at least 2-3 days for setting good color.
- Lac needs 2-4 hours for setting a good deep color.
- The application of a mordant, a salt helps in fixing the dye on the fabric like alum, iron, copper, etc. Alum should be used as a pre-mordant, while iron is best as a post mordant.
- Mordenting should be done for half an hour, and the fabric should be dried without washing.
- Most of the natural dyes can be used in a direct method, – boil the dye material, add fabric, soak it and mix it for a while and than wash the same.
For dyes like indigo, the fabric needs to be washed thoroughly to eliminate all excess colors. Neelgar trains people and uses natural dyes sourced from organic elements constantly and even encourages every one to use natural dyes.
Check out our natural dyes collection here
Shibori is a Japanese word, which is quite popular in textile world. In India,it is a common technique that most people have embraced and adapted very well.
Itijame shibori is a technique commonly known as Clamping shibori wherein layers of fabrics can be folded in multiple ways and then clamped to generate new designs.
- Some create complete pictures with clamps including simple geometrical shapes to very complex designs.
- The technique was used on scarves and stoles and then even extended to saris.Many artisans were trained the same technique for producing these fabrics for Neelgar constantly.
Neelgar offers different products developed with this technique on various natural fabrics for domestic as well as international market. Neelgar has been involved in reinventing, reviving, creating, and recreating several shibori techniques with the aid of different skilled artisans all over Gujarat and Rajasthan. Several groups of women and men have been trained and given the opportunity to work for the brand.
We are constantly trying to boost the number of artisans to work with us, and also believe in expanding the horizons to train people about the craft.
Check out our Shibori collection here