Ajrak is an interesting textile art form of Gujarath and its interior villages.They’re mostly found in few earthy Indian colours and are made of natural dyes especially indigos printed with the help of intricately carved wooden blocks.
The essence of ajrak printing is to celebrate nature in terms of the vast use of natural raw materials and resources and the representation of its motifs and colours. For many years together artisans have made use of natural dyes to produce the deep intense colours of ajrak, such as extracts of the madder plant for red and extracts from the true indigo plant for the popular indigo colour. The motifs featured in ajrak print are mainly elaborate geometric jewel-like shapes that incorporate motifs which symbolise nature, such as stars and flowers.
The term ‘ajrak’ means ‘indigo’ or ‘blue’. This reflects the reputation of indigo dyes and illustrates the extensive use of the indigo shade of blue in traditional ajrak print, which is still common to this day. Traditionally, ajrak prints were donned by both men and women. To this day men continue to use ajrak printed shirts and Kurthas. women continue to wear ajrak printed dupattas, chadors and shawls that exquisitely complement other garments such as sarees. The Khatri community, who continue to be dominant ajrak printers in the Kutch district, have now recognised contemporary markets, producing traditional ajrak prints on modern pieces such as yardages and home furnishings.
However these prints are a must have in a woman’s wardrobe either in the form of a sari, kurtha or a dupatta. They’re mostly printed on soft handwoven cottons and Tussar but nowadays largely available in modal and rayons too.
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