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Captivating kalamkari



Eye-catching art work on fabrics from Kalahasti.

KALAMKARI IS a time-honoured art form, beautifully developed in Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh. It is an ancient art of dyeing cotton and silk fabrics with vegetable colours.Mamata Reddy, who is from Tirupati, has been a crusader for kalamkari for some years now. Her passion for the art led her to the painters' homes. She insists on improved workmanship, retention of traditional designs of Nature and mythology and innovation.

Today her products have achieved designer status with elaborate dupattas, saris, scarves, skirts all produced with unique results. Top model Milind Soman has also incorporated Mamata's kalamkari in his designs. Both hand blocks and hand painted kalamkaris are made. Scenes from Ramayana and the Mahabharata are delicately painted on the borders. Skirts and salwars have eye-catching motifs in red, black and off-white. A more expensive range is the indigo-dyed fabric. It is dyed in Rajasthan and brought to Kalahasti for painting.

The intricate designs on them are done meticulously by a team of painters, who work exclusively for Mamata. The painted and dyed fabrics are repeatedly washed in running water before the product is ready.

In Chennai, one can find this exclusive collection at Kalpadruma and Sundari Silks.

Text and pic. by
RUPA GOPAL

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