EXPLORING TRADITIONAL HANDCRAFTING TECHNIQUES•
Posted on September 17 2019
We’re always seeking for something special and unique in the products we offer.
Recently, we’ve decided to delve into the world of handcrafted products. We’ve collated an array of handmade products ranging from beautiful blue pottery made using the centuries-old Kashi technique, to traditional block-printed quilts (‘dulais’) made by some of the very best Pakistani artisans of the craft.
The ancient art of Kashi Kari is a traditional crafting technique for creating glazed artefacts using mosaic art.
Kashi has unique motifs which are often inspired by Islamic art, geometry and the Holy shrines of Mystics in the subcontinent.
Kashikari is deeply rooted in the history of South Asia. Though its origin is unclear, it is speculated that this artform came from Persia or China.
During the Mughal era, it enjoyed a status of high prestige and prominence as it was heavily featured in Mughal Architecture in intricate detail.
Kashi is a laboursome and time-consuming process, with each piece going through 20 individual crafting stages before completion. When fine-grained soil and water are mixed, impurities need to be taken out.
The cleaner the soil, the better the product. Once it's reached the desired state, the moist clay is worked on the potter's wheel and takes its shape. This shape is then baked at 900 degree Celsius for 12-14 hours!
The fired pieces are then left to dry and harden in the sun for 2 days. It is only then that dyes are prepared for painting and glazing. The favoured colours are cobalt blue, turquoise, mustard yellow, green, brown and white. The patterns are often complex floral motifs or geometrical designs with calligraphic inspirations.
Our Artisan collection features some beautiful block-printed dulais (quilts) and kanthas. The technique involves designing a pattern on paper, laying the pattern blueprints on wooden blocks and then hand-carving the pattern into the blocks. These blocks are then dipped in paint and pressed onto the quilt fabric to imprint the painted pattern. For more than one colour in the design, multiple blocks are carved out. Depending on the intricacy and size of the design, this can take anywhere from a few days to months!
The technique of applying the blocks onto fabric involves stretching the fabric on long tables, the blocks are then stamped out onto the fabric using dyes and inks that have been prepared. Block printing is a centuries-old craft. It might be the simplest and slowest of all textile-printing methods but it yields some of the most beautiful results.
Due to the process of printing by hand, pattern repeats are approximate and it is natural for variations in colour to occur. This is part of the inherent beauty of the handmade process and we feel it gives a lot more character to an item than one that is commercially produced by machines. Once the dyes have dried up, the fabric is now ready to be turned into a beautiful dulai.
The next step is sewing it together and adding a thin sheet of pure cotton between the two layers. Now comes the interesting part: the dulia is spread out and, using cotton embroidery threads, is finally stitched together. This is done for aesthetic and practical reasons: to secure all the layers together but also to add another layer of pattern design on the dulia by using coloured thread. Most traditional dulais have borders, and often carry a different print on each side. This adds another feature of reversibility. Unlike the store-bought quilts, these dulais are unique. They are made using high quality, organically sourced materials, hand-worked by artisans applying three different techniques. The best part is they are lightweight and cosy, making them perfect for the transitioning seasons.
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