Craft

Ajrak: A textile without borders?

The two textiles shown side by side, are Ajraks-- the blue silk one is from Karachi, Pakistan and the blue-red is a wool-silk scarf produced in Bhuj, India. While deeply visually similar, the textiles are produced in two countries, that though border each other, are divided by political conflict that does not allow trade or travel between the two countries-- even to conduct research. The blue silk scarf is mine and the blue-red scarf belongs to Meera Curam. 

"Hidden" Meanings

Pha hol is the name for an ikat-patterned silk cloth woven among ethnically minoritized Khmer communities in today's Thailand, especially in Surin and Buriram provinces. Hol is "the Queen of Surin silk" many say -- the most beautiful, locally meaningful pattern. Calling hol a Queen draws attention to its creation and use primarily by women.

First sharing practice

My research is about Color Red in natural dyes.Title of my PhD research is  Color matters: reconsidering plant based textile colourants. My interest in colour comes from curiosity to know more about materials , methods and techniqes to extract and apply colour . In my previous research, Song of Kalamkari, in search of golden hue in Kalamkari  I intentionally looked at Colour Yellow which seemed to be an insignificant colour in the hierarchy of colours in Kalamkari. This journey took me to the Coromandel coast to Masulipatnam, Andhra Pradesh, South India.

True Blue Indigo Kit

In the process of breeding the indigo vat, we noticed a fermented smell unique to indigo, and experienced the process of indigo becoming a dye through fermentation. We also noted the color cange from green to blue in the oxidation process. We used shibori resist dye techniques for the dyeing process. We applied pressure to the cloth using boards or strings and create a resist. We thought it would be ideal to show contrast between the indigo and the white of the fabric to accentuate the beauty of the blue.

Konbaung Dynasty and Luntaya Acheik

Luntaya acheik originated in Konbaung dynasty (1752-1885) and could be worn only by kings and queens. If this new fabric was presented respectfully to the king and queen, a prize would be awarded to the giver. Commoners were not allowed to wear a new one but it could worn the king’s hand-me-downs which is awarded to the outstanding person in the service of the king.

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