Speckled with tiny square shaped dots, textured with crinkled crease of fabric, dyed with vivid dramatic colors; bandhani attracts all the attention and admiration. Floral or abstract, circles or zigzags, figures or animals, birds or trees- diverse patterns are created by the distinctive technique of tie and dye which is traditionally beckoned as Bandhani or Bandhej. As the name suggests, the resist technique of tie-dyeing is derived from the Sanskrit name Bandhana or Bandha. The name which refers to both the technique and the end-product is created by the tedious process of pinching and resist tying of the fabric before dyeing. The tied areas indicating the patterns remain undyed creating dotted outlines of forms.
Varied range of patterns illustrated by white or yellow dots, lyrically composed on bright deep red and black background, has always been a striking identity of traditional attire. The prominent color contrast is always well balanced by inimitable sense of composition and symmetry of the design forms. Bandhani artisans of the state today have gone far beyond the traditional ethos and express their creativity in riots of color combinations. Fabric dyed in red, maroon, pink, yellow, ochre, orange, green, mauve, violet, sky blue, indigo, black, white and many-many more hues radiates the proficiency and ingenuity of the dyers.
Bandhani is considered as the symbol of girlhood, love and marital happiness and has been an auspicious and significant part of wedding ensembles. Playful patterns of Rasleela to the flamboyant depiction of flower gardens, the themes explored and created by the artisans reflected social themes, nature, rituals, and many other inspirations. Simple dots identified as Bindi or Bundi are created with variations in form of circles which are called laddu and squares are known as Dabbi or box. Tear-shaped dots are also created by stitch resist technique. These tiny dots are meticulously composed to form patterns of desire exuding elegance, style and beauty on a varied range of fabrics. Silk, cotton, wool, cotton-silk, jute and many other fabrics constitute the material paraphernalia of a bandhani artist in Gujarat.
Each pattern has a given name and is usually worn for specific occasions. Names are based on the patterns they most represent, such as ‘Ambadal’, ‘Chandrakukdi’, ‘Kalger’ ,’Shikari’ and much more.The circular pattern is known as the ‘Ras Leela’ based on the dance of the’Gopis’ and ‘Krishna’ is a common theme.
The creative ingenuity of the artisans today is expressed in an array of products with assorted new motifs and patterns. From the curtains of the living room to stoles for making a fashion statement, artisans express their knack and fervor in contemporary Bandhani.
We are off to Rajasthan on January next year where we will be visiting factories and villages that are expert in this famous fabric embellishing technique and we will all get a chance to have a go being taught by the women who have practiced this art for many many years.
If you would like to join us on this wonderful trip then head over to our website and reserve your place. We would love for you to join us.