Batik – The beauty of broken lines

Batik is an ancient art which uses wax and dyes to create a visual magic on fabrics. The word Batik is of Indonesian/Malay origin. It is believed that the term is a derivation from the word `Ambatik’ which when translated literally stands for a piece of cloth with small dots or writing with wax or drawing in broken lines. It is an art appreciated all over the world in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, USA, Egypt, Central Africa and India.

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Evidences of Indian batik dating back over two thousand years have been found. Indians knew the wax resist method of printing designs on cotton fabrics long before any other country had even tried it. Indian cotton and dyes were very popular in those days. The indigo blue was one of the earliest dyes to be used. Batik tapestries were elaborate illustrations of the art, culture and traditions of the days of yore. The elaborate process of dyeing and waxing was ironically one of the very hitches that caused the art to decline.

Batik art received an impetus when it was introduced as a subject at the famous Visva Bharati University,located in the twin towns of Santiniketan and Sriniketan in the Indian state of West Bengal.

matea_MainA Batik creation involves 3 basic steps – waxing, dyeing, and scraping (removing). The the wax is used for creating designs on certain pre-defined areas on the fabric. The fabric is then dyed and then the wax is removed by scraping or by boiling the cloth so that the wax peels off. When the wax is removed the contrast between the dyed and undyed areas makes the pattern. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis three-stage process of waxing, dyeing and de-waxing is repeated many times over in order to achieve a desired design. The characteristic effects of batik are the fine cracks that appear in the wax, which allow small amounts of the dye to seep in. The result is a beautiful piece of cloth with some very unconventional designs.

maxresdefaultTraditionally, Batik is used on cotton or silk fabrics.

Apart from the fabric used and the diversity in designs, there are four different techniques of making a Batik printed piece of cloth:

  1. The splash method – In this process, the wax is splashed over the fabric in a random fashion and then the dye is poured. This results in a virtual explosion of random designs and colours.
  2. The screen printing process – This method involves the use of a stencil to etch the designs in an orderly and defined manner.
  3. The hand painting method – This process essentially uses the art of Kalamkari to draw the designs and separate the wax.

A fourth method used is the scratch and starch resist method.

Today, traditional and contemporary batik are equally adored by both the East and the West. Batik prints can be found on traditional items such as sarees, dupattas and wall hangings, and on contemporary products, including dresses, bags, accessories and home furnishing….exquisite!

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What products do we have on store?

A pretty odd mix we must say.

 

From the traditional selection of handwoven woolen carpets, to the eclectic and quirky silk pocket squares

A sprinkling of the age-old ‘dokra‘ created from by the lost-wax casting technique, coconut shell glasses and serving plates, amazing tribal art wooden masks and terracotta decorative pieces.

Add a dash of artifacts created from buffalo horn and copper repousse

A liberal serving of authentic jute bags and carpets

Topped up with silk bed linen featuring kantha work

and served with pure Bishnupuri silk shawls and stoles.

All in one place, aptly named…

GANGASAGAR

HANDCRAFTED | ECO-FRIENDLY | SUSTAINABLE | UNIQUE

Crafts of the hand..

What are handicrafts exactly? Google this and you find everybody worth his salt peddling handicrafts. Prices range from the very cheap to the Oh-my-god costly. Naturally, it gets confusing. One tends to wonder – are these authentic? What exactly am I paying for?

Wikipedia says:

handicraft, sometimes more precisely expressed as artisanal handicraft, is any of a wide variety of types of work where useful and decorative objects are made completely by hand or by using only simple tools. It is a traditional main sector of craft, and applies to a wide range of creative and design activities that are related to making things with one’s hands and skill, including work with textiles, moldable and rigid materials, paper, plant fibers, etc. Usually the term is applied to traditional techniques of creating items (whether for personal use or as products) that are both practical and aesthetic.

silk decorative panel 2 closeup sliderWe visited a lot of establishments, both online and offline, and although all of them offered handicrafts, none of them could satisfactorily answer these basic questions. The most we got was – oh yes, these are handicrafts, made from the hand, and so on and so forth.But why are these costlier? Pat came the answer – Well, coz they are handicrafts!

The traditional appeal of handcrafted items lies in the personalization. The product is created for YOU, as opposed to the conveyor-belt philosophy that dominates machine-made items.

 

That’s when we thought about it ourselves. It is not enough to sell handicrafts, one should also be able to take you through the journey of how these crafts of the hand are created. What the process is, how much time is spent to bring to you the exquisite piece that you so covet so much.

And so here we are…bringing to you not only beautiful and unique ‘truly handcrafted’ products, but also the hard work and craftsmanship behind them…

And so we thought, what better tagline than this?

Let us tell you a story…