Traditional ties that live on...
`The Magic of Tie and Dye' exhibition-cum-sale organised by Shilpi offers an arresting choice of saris and dupattas. Check it out at the boutique's Alwarpet and Nungambakkam outlets.
THE PROCESS of opening a `tied and dyed' sari is magical. It is as if a chrysalis has turned into a multi-hued, many-splendoured butterfly!
For the craftsperson in faraway Bhuj and Kutch, it is carrying forward a languishing tradition whose origins have been lost in the mists of time: drawing patterns on the cloth, pinching it and holding it in one's teeth, tying the punched portion laboriously in a continuous flow of unbroken thread and finally dyeing it, creating one of the greatest textile embellishments of the country's craft tradition.
And for the buyer at Shilpi's ongoing special exhibition of Bandhini saris in Chennai, it is experiencing the magical imagery of the best of bandhinis. In vibrant to muted hues, in traditional patterns and whorls which suit contemporary tastes, and in satin silk, georgette, cotton and kotas...
For Arundhati Menon and Bhamini Narayanan of `Shilpi', the search for bandhini saris took them on a journey to Bhuj and Kutch, to stark landscapes where the traditional craftsperson has crafted colourful oases of beauty by creating the swirling, merging colours of the bandhini.
On the bandhini saris, Arundhati and Bhamini have conceptualised another craft tradition the phool patti ka kaam of Uttar Pradesh. Lovely silvery gota has been twisted into delicate jewel-like floral borders and strewn all over the bandhini sari and dupatta. Minimal embroidery and block prints are other traditional crafts used in conjunction with tie and dye. `The Magic of Tie and Dye' exhibition-cum-sale offers an arresting choice of saris and dupattas. Colours range from rich flamboyant parrot green, pitambari (yellow), kesari, ultramarine blue, red and gulabi typical colours of the Gujarati bandhini to sophisticated beiges, greys, browns etc., teamed with vivid red and blue borders. The bandhini work varies from very intricate jewel-like all-over tie and dye motifs to tie and dye borders and pallav.
Crepes, silks, silk satin and georgettes also come with a scattering of sequin work and with exquisite phool patti ka kaam borders, making for stunning combinations.
Gota phool patti ka kaam with a coppery antique look is another eye catching innovation teamed with the bandhini technique. Yet another innovation is the elongated `Shibori' technique of tying and dyeing, rarely tried so far.
The famous gharchola bandhini with typical all-over-sari squares is one of the main attractions of the exhibition.
For Chennai's many seasons of summer, Shilpi has a range of Kotas and Bengal cottons embellished with tie and dye. Also, block printed cottons touched with bandhini work beckon attention.
Combining traditional craft and textile skills with `a light deft touch' has always distinguished Shilpi saris and dupattas.
`The Magic of Tie and Dye' brings all this, interwoven with the dedication of the Gujarati's craftswomen who tie and dye, with immense skill, sense of harmony - and love - so that urban wardrobes may bloom.
The venue of the exhibition : Shilpi, C.P. Ramaswami Road, Alwarpet and Gee Gee Minar, College Road, Nungambakkam.
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