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Ajrakh and dhabla of kutch, rajasthan.


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Craft Documentation on Ajrakh printing and dhabla shwal weaving of kutch, rajasthan.

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Ajrakh and dhabla of kutch, rajasthan.

  2. 2. 1 INDEX TOPIC PAGE Acknowledgement 2 Introduction 3 About Kutch 4-6 Bhuj 7-10 Making of Dhabla Bhujori 12-16 History of Dhabla 17-21 Ramji Bhai 22-23 Weavers community 24 Wool 25-26 Dyeing of wool 27-29 Loom 30-34 TOPIC PAGE Work procedure 35-45 Extra weft patterning 46 Design vocabulary 47-50 Current scenario 51-53 About the product 53-59 Making of Ajrak Ajrakpur 60-64 Dr. Ismile Bhai khatri 65-68 Ajrak 69-76 Processing 77-95 Cost 96 Conclusion 97
  3. 3. 2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This compilation of experience and learning is based upon an extensive filed research that had been under taken by us, a group comprising of three fashion and textile students of semester 4 from NIFT Gandhi Nagar (2005-2009). First and foremost we would like to thank the people of the villages, for excepting us into their midst and making our field work in their village not only possible but also enjoyable. We are extremely thankful to Vankar Ramji Bhai and his family and all his other fellow craftsmen for their valuable guidance that helped us in understanding the craft and also helped in making the product in the village during our stay at bhujori. We are also very grateful to Dr.Ismile Mohammad khatri and this son Juned Bhai for their cooperation and time. We would also like to thank all our faculties Ms.Payal Jain, Mrs.Rupali Pandit, Mrs. Subhangi Yadav, Mr. Manish Bhargav for giving us such a wonderful opportunity of going and visiting the crafts in practicality. At last the other group (Ms. Joytsna Gupta, Ms. Divya Sharma, Ms. Nancy Sikka and Mr. Ujjwal Gajbe) who went with to Kutch and shared their experiences about the different embroideries, during our stay at bhuj. NOORANI BISWAS SANJEET SORANGE GARIMA OJHA
  4. 4. 3 INTRODUCTION We have always read a lot about India being a land that treasures the knowledge of some of the best and most astonishing textile oriented crafts like, weaving ,printing dyeing ,embroideries as well as other crafts like wood work ,metal work ,pottery happening all across the world and that to since ages. Infact India is said to be the origin of some of the major crafts which people around the world not only recognize but also take inspiration from. Living in such a state and aspiring to be textile designer itself opens the door for all of us to go and witness some of the crafts happening around us our self. As a student of 4th semester fashion and textile design department our curriculum gave us the opportunity of documenting any textile oriented craft happening in India. This included an extensive field visit followed by the compilation. The motif of the module was to visit the craft and the artisan practicing it and hence developing the over all understanding about the craft. Our group decided of documenting two crafts the Dhabla weaving (bhujori) and Ajrak printing (ajrak pur) since both fall in the kutch region and very ancient in their origin.
  5. 5. 4 ABOUT KUTCH Kachchh, also known as Kutch is the largest district in Gujarat state and the second largest in India with an area of 45,612 square kilometers. Surrounded by the Gulf of Kachchh and the Arabian Sea in the south and west, its name literally means “surrounded by water.” When viewed upside down on a map, the district looks like a tortoise, which is Kachchh or Kachbo in the Kutchi and Gujarati languages. Hence, it is believed that the name is derived from it. The district remains a wetland for a large part of the year even if there aren’t too many dams built around River Rann, a salt waste mainly in the north of the district, which was the scene of Indo- Pakistani fighting in 1965. Though little is known about the entire area, its people and religions have made Kachchh a “Mystery Land. Major towns of Kutch  Mandvi  Anjar  Nakhtrana  Lakhpat  Gandhidham  Rapar  Nalia  Bachhu
  6. 6. 5 Map of kutch
  7. 7. 6 THE PEOPLE
  8. 8. 7 Lady wearing bandhni BHUJ Bhuj, the western most city of India, is a treasure trove of heritage and culture. Like few other towns, which have escaped the tourist invasion in India, Bhuj offers to the traveler hospitality hitherto unseen in modern times. Bhuj is known for its small, meandering streets, palaces and temples. It also has the oldest museum in the state of Gujarat. It not only has numerous places of interest within the city, but places (especially villages) around it are very famous for their traditional handicrafts and embroidery.
  9. 9. 8 LOCATION Bhuj is located in the westernmost part of the state of Gujarat, in the western region of India. It is around 300 km from Ahmedabad, the state capital. It is near the Gulf of Kutch, a part of the Arabian Sea. Low hills overlook the city of Bhuj. Though Bhuj is near the coast, yet its climate is hot. It is because of its proximity to the Great Rann of Kutch to its north and the Small Rann to its west, which are vast, sandy, and dry salt flats. Bhuj experiences hot summers (April- June) and mild winters (October- February). It is lashed by southwestern monsoons in the months of June- August.
  10. 10. 9 HISTORY A local ruler Maharao Hamir founded the city of Bhuj in 1510. In 1549 Rao Khengarji I, another local ruler, made Bhuj his capital. It remained an independent princely state during the rule of the British in India and became a part of India, when it gained independence in 1947. , starting a dynasty of jadeja rulers that ruled over Kachchh for 400 years. And so, the old walled city of Bhuj is the most important town in the area. The place lies at the heart of Kutch and is linked by many roads to the rest of the peninsula. The cenotaphs, erected at the royal cremation ground as memorials to the former rulers and the CHHATRI of Rao Lakhpatji who died in 1761, are fine specimen of Prag mahal Kachchhi architecture. The prag Mahal made during the rule of Rao Khengarji,is a beautiful example of Roman architecture in Bhuj. Also in Bhuj are the Aina Mahal or Glass Palace which was built in the 18th century, the Kutch Museum, which is Gujarat’s oldest. Aina mahal PLACES AROUND BHUJ There are a number of villages around Bhuj. Some of the important villages near Bhuj are Bhujori, which is famous for weaving. Padhar and Dhaneti are famous for traditional Ahir embroidery. Dhamanka is known for block printing. Lilpur is known for its embroidery while the village of Anjar is famous for block printing, tie and dye items and traditional
  11. 11. 10 betel nut crackers. Items obtained from these villages make good souvenirs as well as items of daily use. The village of Dholavira is an ancient site associated with the Indus Valley Civilization. There is a Than Monastery (60 km) and a beautiful sea beach at Mandvi (60 km southeast). Anjal Wild Ass Sanctuary and the town of Gandhidham are other places near Bhuj. FAIRS &FESTIVALS Bhuj is known for its Rann Utsav (festival), which is held every year in February/March. Also known as the Desert Festival, it usually coincides with the Hindu festival of Shivratri. The main attractions of this festival are demonstration of traditional handicrafts, cultural events and tours in and around the city. OUR STAY AT BHUJ Bhuj is a historical town and a very important sourcing center for all the near by villages of kutch . It is a developed town in terms its infrastructure. It has most of the very important public entities like the general hospital and the senior secondary school and colleges; banks, etc. The town is well connected with all the small villages nearby highway as well as good transport system; buses, jeeps, local chagra, taxis running 24 hrs. Because of such good connectivity, the villagers can easily access all the facilities provided by the government. The town is therefore perhaps the best halt station for tourists visiting kutch, whether a craft lover or there to visit some of the Gujarat’s most beautiful beaches. The town has a number of dharamshala’s and Restaurants. So tourism is one of the very important trades for the local people . the local bhuj markets don’t have malls but shops and showrooms have all the facilities. That a town which is the back bone of the Kutch region should have . The city has a pretty decent nightlife where the shops could be seen open till 11pm. During morning, normally the town comes into life only after 10 am. Bhuj also had witnessed a number of rulers. The rulers seem to be great hunting lovers. The places still have original skins and horns of animals not only from the local jungle area, but also some of them were exported from Africa through steamers. Initially the palaces like the Aina mahal used to be like any other rajwara palace of India. But later on, in new royal buildings, roman and British influence in architecture can be seen. This palace has a very elaborate decoration by mirrors and glasses. Most of the construction work used to be done by the white mud and kutch is said to has Chunna pather.
  12. 12. 11 MAKING OF DHABLA
  13. 13. 12 BHUJORI A common scene in bhujori Bhujori is a village which is around 20 km from bhuj. It took us around 30 min to reach the village. The village is like any other village in India is not exactly on the road, one needs to either walk through or take same local conveniences like auto rickshaw, chagra or a times even camel cart to reach inside the village This takes around 10 min.
  14. 14. 13 Reaching bhujori was easy but once we were in Bhujori we had several other worries and curiosities about the kind of place, people, sanitation and the most important was communication problem which we had faced earlier during our previous field visits to the local gujrati villages, since none of us gujrati. Backyard of house We went to an auto wala and asked him to take us to some dhabla shawl weaver .and he left us in front of a house which was on the road. On entering the house, we saw spacious courtyard, surrounding which were several rooms. The varanda is made of locally available white clay and cow dung. Inside the compound, they had separate rooms for there living as well as for keeping the ready stock for sale and for keeping raw material, like, wool, cotton and silk. Beside these they have cattle area, mostly the village rear cattle’s like cow, goat and sheep. Goat and sheep are reared by the rabaries.
  15. 15. 14 First we went to the shop room where customer can visit to buy dhabla. Inside the shop we met the care taker shri. Rajesh Bhai. We introduced our shelves and told him the reason of our arrival . He told us to wait in the shop itself and he went out side. Meanwhile we take a look on the different products in the shop to gather an idea about dhabla. They had made various products using extra weft pattering in weaving, like shawls, blanket Bags, cushioncovers, stoles, mufflers, etc. Shop and store Rajesh bhai introduced us to his father the Head weaver of the family, Sri Vankar Vishram Valji .and that’s how we got an opportunity to know the history of bhujori as well as about dhabla.
  16. 16. 15 Vishramji’s wife Interior of Vishramji’s house Like we had seen the interiors of the aina mahal at bhuj had very elaborated decoration done using glasses and mirror a similar kind of decoration could be seen in the interior of most of the traditional houses all around kutch .
  17. 17. 16 LIVING
  18. 18. 17 HISTORY OF DHABLA Rabbari women at work Vishram ji Bhai told us that bhujori village is more ancient than the town bhuj. There community i.e the Vunkar community, which is right now weaving dabla, is originally from Rajasthan where they were called Meghwal. Then Vishram ji narrated us the whole story of how this migration happened. According to him the Meghwal community in rajesthan were great followers of shri Ram Dev PirJi. Once Ram Dev Pir Ji came to kutch and that motivated the meghwals to follow him. This is how for the first time meghwal come to kutch.but slowly, besides religion, trade also become another reason for the meghwal to give frequent visits to kutch. This vunkar community realized that kutchi villages badlly need weavers as there was no weaver community in kutch at that time. Rabaries, Ahirs were the first one who came to kutch .
  19. 19. 18 sheep Rabbaries are mainly sheep rearers and Ahir’s are the people of lower caste. Rabaries are master’s in embroidery but lack the knowledge of weaving, so this is how the vunkar from Rajasthan got good job of weaving in these villages and slowly settled here. Initially it is said that the rabbari women used to rear the wool from the local sheep. while sitting idle in there houses, they used to spin wool. Once the meghwal’s came rabbaries started giving these hand spun wool to the weavers and the weavers make shawls and blanket for rabbari women and men. The traditional shawls woven for rabbari men were called “dhabla”. Dhabla is a gujrati word meaning blanket. The traditional dhabla was woven in two parts as the loom width in those days used to be narrow as they used hand shuttles for picking, longer width fabrics are not possible with hand shuttle. So blanket was woven in two parts each of a width of 26 inches and a length of 100 inches. Traditional dhabla
  20. 20. 19 They used to give ready shawls to rabbari women, they finely stitches the two parts together. The dhabla traditionally had very few color’s i.e. white black, maroon and brown at times. Earlier only natural dyeing used to happen. The body was predominantly white, while black and maroon extra weft pattering and at times warp wise border with a black and maroon used to happen most of the times the patterning was very less. Traditional dhabla was very heavy .For blankets they used 2 ply yarn and for shawl single ply is used. Embroidered luri for wedding It is said that the rabaries men used to drape the shawl tightly and the weaving used to be so tight that even water doesn’t penetrate during rainfall. Men used to wear dhabla throughout the day. For women these shawls were called “luri”. Lur it is of single ply and were relatively lighter, predominantly black in color and lesser extra weft pattering than dhabla. It is mainly of plain weave. The rabbaries themselves used to do elaborate adornment by using bhandni .They make red dots on black body then they used to do extensive embroidery over it.
  21. 21. 20 These luri were used by newly wed. Young girls eligible for marriage used to embroider luri for themselves, they do lots of mirror work, thread work. Luri’s were longer than dhabla since women used to drape it around themselves like sarees, its length is around 130 inches and width of 48 inches. Traditionally the loom width used to vary from 24 inch-26inch. Even today the rabari women do their traditional embroidery works which another popular craft happening in the village . Name of the embroideries are  Ahir  Muthva  Sankari  Kantha  Chari  Lace work  Mirror work  Appliqué, Dhabla woven for ahir community were more colored. they had 7 colors like, red. Black rust, pink, orange, green, blue, black. It was only after the year 1965 bhujori gained fame for its craftand the credit goes to prabha Ben shah from Bombay. At the request of the craft sang manager of gujrat Mr.Tripari Baiwas Mrs. Prabha Ben came to kutch and saw this amazing craft happening, She made weavers realize that this craft has much more potential to grow and not just a tool of fulfilling the domestic need of the village.
  22. 22. 21 POPULATION DISTRIBUTION OF BHUJORI Bhujori village has got mainly Hindu population, only 1to 2 Muslim families. The two major caste in the village are vankar’s and rabbari’s. Around 200 houses of vankar and 100 houses of rabbaries. CURRENT SENARIO Before earth quake villages and had kaccha house but Today they have all pakka houses with 24 hrs water Supply .water is fetched from bore wells. Most of the Houses have proper sanitation facilities. Rabbari women in daily gossips
  23. 23. 22 RAM JI BHAI Ram ji Bhai the master weaver is one of the six brothers of the bunker family headed by their father Sri Vanker Valji Ram ji Bhai started practicing weaving at the age of 13. His educational qualification is till 8th standard (from the village school only) Since childhood he used to see his father, and then his elder brothers doing the weaving work. And this dhabla weaving always used to excite him a lot as a kid only. Neither his father nor his brothers ever taught him the weaving all that he has learned till date is by observing his elders. Because of his firm interest in weaving he decided to take up weaving as his occupation and as a craft like his brothers did. Today this 32 year old weaver has his own family and his own pakka makan, just behind his father’s house where he stays with his wife and two sons. Ram ji Bhai has a very simple life style. Most of the weavers in the village have same life styles. Ram ji Bhai gets up in the morning at 6am and then after finishing his day to day regular activities he starts weaving at 8am. It is said that 8am -1am is the best time for the weaver to weave as the weaver is fresh at that time, more over there is sufficient light all around and also the temperature conditions are better during early morning hours so less chances of yarn breaking are there, as a result of which maximum productivity. Then the pace of weaving slows down .at 12:30 he leaves for lunch. All the other weavers too go for lunch during this time then after lunch he rests till 3pm. His colleagues join him back at 3:15pm and then after the tea break they again get back to there work which continues till 5:30pm. After 5:30 no weaving happens. Then all the weavers leave for there houses and gets engaged in there family affairs, children, relatives and friends.
  24. 24. 23 Work place His house has a similar set up like his fathers house. Ram ji has his own workshop, which again is very open and spacious. The workshop is made up of primarily from wood iron and asbestos sheets. Though he himself took up weaving as his occupation but like any other parent he has different plans for his children he wants them to study to get good job. His workshop has six looms, two of which are frame looms given to him by the government after earthquake. Rest of four is all traditional pit looms. After earthquake a no. of weavers lost there houses and loom so Ram ji Bhai has given work to such weaves .Most of theses weavers are his relatives only.
  25. 25. 24 WEAVING OF THE DHABLA SHAWLS THE WEAVERS COMMUNITY Before the vankar community migrated from Rajasthan to Kutch the weaving of cotton as well as woolen yarns was done by the Dhed caste the members of which are generally considered “untouchables”. After the Gandhi movement the use of the term harijan came in. Today the entire dhabla weaving is in the hands of the “vankar” community and they are transferring it from one generation to the other.
  26. 26. 25 THE WOOL Wool needles to say is the basic requirement of the dhabla weaving . It is interesting to notice that despite of both Rajasthan as well as kutch having a hot climate most of the time in the year, the weavers were engaged in doing the wool weaving rather then using some other lighter fabric like cotton, the reason behind this was the “availability” factor it reflects that in remote villages where people don’t have much resources (kutch and Rajasthan do not produce cotton), they have learned to make the best use of what they have . Traditionally wool was extracted from the local sheep’s reared by the “rabbari” community. These local sheep’s provides wool twice a year once before rain and the other during holi(end of winter) while rearing the season of rearing is decided keeping in mind the need of the animal like during winters the animal itself needs a this layer to protect itself. As already discussed earlier during earlier times the rabbari women themselves used to do the spinning of wool and hence used to produce coarser handspun woolen yarns. But during those days the picture used to be different as whatever amount of wool used to be generated it was sufficient enough to fulfill the domestic needs. But slowly as the craft grew up the demand of wool too increased. and then the time came when the weavers felt a need of sourcing the wool from outside as the local sheep is not of the best quality, one local sheep gives only around 200-250gm wool. Today the situation is different, now weavers basically use 4 types of yarns:  100%marino wool(from ludhiana)  Acrylic  Desi wool  Silk(from Bihar) desi wool The desi wool is the local sheep wool this wool is collected from all over the Kutch and the Rajasthan region, then annually the people from the Rajasthan Wool Sangh come and they take this local wool to Rajasthan where it’s processing and spinning takes place. And this is how the wool is converted to hanks this desi wool comes in undyed natural state and is used as it is.
  27. 27. 26 Marino wool is brought from Ludhiana annually during holi season. This is in the undyed hank form then according to there own color demand they dye it in their home. This is how they save the unnecessary wastage of this expensive wool. Some 25 years back the government tried to import some Marino sheep and tried to rear them in Kutch and Rajasthan region keeping in mind the demand of wool among the weaver community but that plan failed as he sheep couldn’t survive the hot climate. Silk too is brought in undyed state from Bihar; they use different varieties like tussar, raw silk etc. Acrylic is always in dyed state. One hank weight around 200gm. The cost price of wool is around 800-1000 rs per kg. And of silk are 500-1500 rs per kg. But it’s a fact that wool is in less demand in the local market then the acrylic because the use of 100%Marino makes the end product very costly for the local market.
  28. 28. 27 DYEING OF WOOL Traditionally both in Rajasthan as well as in Kutch undyed natural wool was used the natural color were black white brown and other natural colors. Slowly as people learned dyeing they started using natural coloring material to impart color to wool. Today as the color demand has increased, people are using dyed wool, and the wool dyeing is happening using Vegetable dyeing In vegetable dyeing they use all natural ingredients to dye the wool like onion peel, lac, madder, harad,dates etc. Acid dyeing This is the done using synthetic dyes .acid dyes are sourced from Bhuj and Ahmedabad. Acid dye Wool to be dyed
  29. 29. 28 PROCESS First the water is taken in a huge container and it is boiled subsequently dye is added, dye could be both in cake a well as in powder form. Once the dye bath is ready the wool which is in the hank form is mounted on two rods. The length of these is always greater then the diameter of the vessel. As a result of which the hanks keeps on hanging over the dye bath. Two men keep on rotating the rods after every 5 min so that every length and section of the hank gets equal and uniform contact with the dye. Wool dyeing takes 10-15 min less then the silk dyeing. For weft dyeing hanks are used but in case we are dyeing the warp then first warping is done.For color fixation they add acids like the sulphuric acid and the acetic acid. And keep the wool in the bath for 10 min. So this total, process takes 35-40 min. Primary colors are directly obtained the other variety of shades are obtained by mix dyeing. Shade controlling is done by manipulating the time and the amount of dye used. Darker shades like maroon and black takes more time.
  30. 30. 29 Hank is hanged to dry After fixation the hanks are taken out and are hanged outside so that the excess of water comes out . then once its temperature becomes much colder it is washed with fresh cold water to remove the traces of the excess of color. Vankar Nanji Bhai is one of the best dyers of the village. Every family has a dye master. Nanji Bhai is a very active weaver he attends all, the major craft fair in India and he won the national award for this craft in the year 2003. Talk with Nanji bhai
  31. 31. 30 THE LOOM Traditionally pit looms were used. Even now most of the families are using there traditional pit looms but some of the loom were lost during the earthquake. After the earthquake the weavers got frame looms by the government. PIT LOOM Above the ground is the large frame consisting the basic structure of the loom, locally known as goda sar Under this there is a pit which accommodates the treadles. The weaver sits in a narrow and shallow depression in the ground in front of the loom. Goda sar Theses looms don’t have the regular warp beams and the length of the warp is stretched open this makes the loom quite area consuming so instead of being in the house the looms are placed outside the house under the shed in the varandas.Like the floor of the house the floor of the varanda the pit and the depression are plastered over with a mixture of clay and cow dung. The heald shafts are called the ranch in the local language. They hang from the upper frame tied with the dori and is connected to the treadle placed in the pit. The heald eyes are made at home using synthetic threads by making loops between the bands. Frame loom (khada sar)
  32. 32. 31 LOOM AUXILARIES The warp stretches under the loom and is fixed in front opposite to the weaver to a rod tied by two cords to the breast beam. The woven cloth is wound around the breast beam which is of a square section and has a tenon projecting from both ends. Tenon for tensioning warps These tenons rotate either in the wooden forks or in wooden rings let into the ground. The square shaped breast beam has hole in the right side of the weaver and an iron rod is inserted through this rod the function of the rod is to tighten or loosen the breast beam according to the need. Warp length is stretched As there is no warp beam in these looms the warp is stretched open till the length of the shawl to be woven .and the rest of the warp is wound on a wooden log and hung on the top of the roof.(normally the warp length is equal to the length of 20 shawls).
  33. 33. 32 Fastened to peg Towards the end of the warp a rope is tied around it . This rope runs first around a large peg driven into the earth and then alongside the breast beam where it is once more tightly stretched before being fastened to another peg. When this bracing rope is loosened the warp tension is relaxed and the woven cloth can be wound around the breast. Relaxing warp tension
  34. 34. 33 Reed made of bamboo The guiding comb consist of two wooden battons in the inner longitudinal grooves of which the reed is set, it is made up of bamboo. The number of theses bamboo teeth constituting the reed corresponding to the number of the threads in the warp.The reed count is 20 dents per inch. And two ends per dent.
  35. 35. 34 Heald eye Healds are made of threads, they don’nt use iron healds. The above picture is showing warp ends passing through a thread heald. Lease rods are also inserted to prevent warps from entangling, it also make easy to find out the broken warp ends and join them.
  36. 36. 35 THE WORKING PROCEDURE WARPING The threads from the hanks are winded in cones then the warping is done manually. According to the no of ends in the warp cones are taken and wounded around the peg stand. One complete winding in a peg stand measures 1 meter, hence, e.g. warp is to be set of 5 times around the peg. Once warping is done, the ends were tied. Usually warping is done for 20 shawls as a time, hence after no. of ends and then length is set, it is ready for starching. Starched warp is opened lengthwise Warp ends are spread for drying STARCHING Ladies of the house helps in starching the warps, locally, starch is extracted by boiling wheat grains with water. Now the warps are soaked in this starch after this, warps are opened and stretched for dying under sun. (Very thin layer of starch is used).
  37. 37. 36 Brushing A comb like brush (made up of plant root jharka and stem) is used to brush up the extra starch from the warp. This prevents the warp threads to stick to each other. Starching increases the strength of wool hence resulting less breakage during weaving.
  38. 38. 37 PREPARING THE WEFT Winding of spools The hanks consist of single strand. For shawls they use single strand weft and for blankets, they use double strands.
  39. 39. 38 Obhana The hank (laccha) are loosened and warped, around the turn stile ( chankhi) or obhana . Two cords run in a zig zag formation between the eight corners. Weft for shawls only one turn stile is used and for blankets weft 2 turn stiles is used to make is double stranded. A hank of wool yarn is wrapped around the, turnstiles, and set up in front of the spinning wheel supported by a rod with a barb against which the axle the turnstile leans. A spool is now mounted a spindle axle, and while the right hand turns the crank, the left hand places the yarn on the spindle. When the spool is full the yarn is broke by an empty one. Hank is put around charkhi
  40. 40. 39 Thread from hank is winded in spools A large number of spools are wound at the same time the full spools are collected and stored in a basket, the basked is placed beside the cotton loom , so as to be handy when spools have to be changed. Winding of yarn in the spools is a special manners, the spool is divided into 3 small section , the first section is winded completely then second and then the third. This is done because while picking, spool will easily in wind due to small section winding instead of whole spool winding. For one shawls they need 15- 17 bobbins, 1 bobbin gives 7 inches of plain weave.
  41. 41. 40 DRAFTING In the dhabla weaving, they basically do plain weave and use four heald shafts. Drafting pattern Draft x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x Design Peg plan DENTING There reed count varies from 26 -40 reed count And they do denting of 2 ends per dent. x x x x Denting for body x x x x x x x x Denting for selvedge
  42. 42. 41 Drawn reed and heald shafts They keep stock readily drawn set of threads equal to the number of warps. These set of threads are drawn through 4 heald shafts and a reed separately.
  43. 43. 42 Warp ends are joined to the drawn thread Hence there is no need of drafting and denting of new warp ends, they join the new warp ends to the threads already drawn in the heald shaft and the reed, which is then attached to the loom and the treadle. Normally there are two methods of joining the broken ends the first one as we know is by doing loop formation which we know as the weavers knot. The drawn threads and the new warps are joined by a special knot in the following method of joining shown below no loop formation takes place rather the ends are joined by giving a simple twist by hand to the two broken ends. Knot making
  44. 44. 43 SHEDDING Weaver pressing the treadle For shedding the weaver presses two treadles together. The treadles here are like heald shafts the lifting of which give rise to the shed formation. The pressing order is 1, 2 together followed by the pick insertion and then the other two i.e. 3, 4 together. They use the plain weave always so the lifting order remains the same. Shed formation
  45. 45. 44 PICKING Shuttle Once the shed is formed the fly shuttle is used for the weft insertion. This fly shuttle is a wooden device. In the local terminology the fly shuttle is called “pankha” The full spool is loaded on the shuttle and the thread is drawn from a eye in the shuttle. The first pick is inserted by hand and then simultaneously the next picks are inserted by the fly shuttle governed by the dori, so all weaver needs to do is that he needs to pull the dori .if the dori is pulled towards the right side the weft insertion takes place from left to right and vice versa. The reason behind the speedy movement of the shuttle is that the shuttle box where then shuttle lies has two small movable attachments at both the sides of the shuttle box ,these small wooden boxes like attachments are in turn connected to the dori . As the dori are pulled these attachments move and beat, the shuttle lying in between them leading a very fast pick insertion. Weft insertion
  46. 46. 45 BEATING A view of dori and the fly shuttle Beating with the reed After pick insertion the last pick is beaten up by the reed so that the inserted pick falls in the right place during weaving and the woven fabric appears even and fine throughout. A wooden stick (made of bamboo most of the times) tied in a cross form, with nails on both the ends is used to maintain uniformity in the width of the fabric.
  47. 47. 46 EXTRA WEFT PATTERNING Crossing of extra weft Extra weft patterning is the main catch of the dhabla weaving. The technique of extra weft patterning use by the vunkar remained the identifying feature of the dhabla shawl weaving. The vunkars use 2 strand of extra weft for the elaborated patterning both in the body as well as the border. Extra weft insertion is all done by hand. In a fabric of count like 260s after each extra weft 2 picks are inserted. But this is slightly different in case of blanket. For blankets one pick is inserted after every extra weft. The weave in the extra weft could be plain, rib, twill they also make floats on the top of the pattern. In most of the extra weft patterning the weft is first woven from one end to the other as the pattern completes. But in dhabla shawl weaving the extra weft is first woven from the center. After two picks insertion the two ends of the extra weft get crossed, again two picks are inserted and the loosed ends of the extra weft is crossed till the pattern completes. At last to give the final; touch to the motifs done using the extra weft the weft ends that are unwanted are removed or cropped away.
  48. 48. 47 DESIGN VOCABULARY The design vocabulary is very traditional. Most of the motifs have been taken from the daily life of the weaver and the village. It is important to notice that with the kind of extra weft patterning technique used by the weavers only pointed motifs are possible. No fine curvilinear motifs could happen using this technique. So most of the motifs we observed were purely geometrical shape. Some of the very popular motifs the weavers are making since ages are as follows. As far as the color palette is concerned, today they are using very contemporary colors. Further the color demand depends upon the trend of the market. The traditional layout used to be very simple but now more overall jaal and patterning using the same traditional geometrical motifs could be seen. Some of the shawls had warp wise stripes. But all theses are only the recent development in the dhabla shawl weaving. Then essence is still the same. Vegetable dyed wool Vankar Hamir bhai, elder son of Vankar Vishram ji bhai got the national award for this elaborately patterned dhabla in the year 1999 Vankar Vishram ji bhai got his national award in the year 1974
  49. 49. 48 TRADITIONAL DHABLA MOTIFS Dholak Chowmukhi Satkhadi Derivative of Satkhadi
  50. 50. 49 Phupti (full) Phupti (half) Dhogla Harde
  51. 51. 50 Dhogla DESIGN LAYOUT OF DHABLA Extra weft patterning of 11 inch Border Side borders Body 11 inch border
  52. 52. 51 CURRENT SCENARIO OF WEAVING Overall pattern The craft of the dhabla shawl weaving has undergone a number of changes and new advancements over the period of time. Traditionally as we had already discussed the bankers used the pit looms, which had the limitation like at a time only one men can sit and weave. But now particularly after the earthquake, pit looms are slowly been replaced by the frame looms. Similar changes came in the method of weft insertion today instead of the hand shuttle fly shuttle are used which has not only made the production of wider fabrics possible but also the weaving has become speedy today. The earth quake the villagers believe that was a blessing in disguise for them though they suffer some huge loss but subsequently the craft picked up a quick pace toward the road of development. Generating warp side stripes And the credit for this craft revival goes to the joint efforts of the government, several NGO’s, and designers. The designers gave frequent visits and spend ample time with the weavers and in return they gave them some valuable feedbacks like changing the reed. Today they use a much finer reed.
  53. 53. 52 Cotton stole with ilk patterning Also they suggested them to use different material like cotton and silk. They also made them aware of the current trends in the market today the weavers are not just sticking to the weaving of the traditional shawls but they are producing a wide range of products using the same weaving technique like stoles, mufflers, scarf, cushion covers, hand bags etc. Even the yarn count has become finer now. The layouts too have changed. Now we see much elaborated work of patterning. Today along with the border the body too has overall work. . Even the yarn count has become finer now. The layouts too have changed. Now we see much elaborated work of patterning. Today along with the border the body too has overall work. The color palate has become too contemporary. The weaver weaves till the month of September and from October onward till the February end they go to all different regions and states of India. They attend all the major craft melas like the “surajkund” and the “virasat”. Bag made of dhabla
  54. 54. 53 That happens in the northern India. This gives them a lot of exposure and also helps them in understanding the market themselves. Today they know that the market demand new designs so according to the demand they also keep on updating themselves. Most of the times the weavers meet the buyers in the exhibitions. The weavers too are pretty happy with the current situation of the craft. Most of the weavers get enough buyers for whom they can stay engaged throughout the year. Their major target market is the northern Indian region like Delhi, U.P, Harayana etc. Since here the entire village is practicing the same craft, and all go to the same exhibition they believe in keeping their work different from the other, as this protects them from unnecessary competition among themselves. (The design layout of one family differs from the other) To add to this, there are various NGO like Kala raksha and Abhyan spread all over the Kutch region. This is in the constant touch with the weavers. The NGO are in touch with various design colleges like NID, NIFT and they keeps on inviting their senior professors and faculties for their valuable guidance. Theses NGO run short term training programs to train the weavers. Like we met a weaver called Bhika Bhai who has attended the training program at kalaraksha for a year after he lost his loom in the earthquake. In the NGO he got the daily payment as well as the design inputs today he has the understanding of theme and colors and this he feels is a valuable experience as he could used it later on in his life as a weaver, he has developed some new motifs rather then using the same existing motifs all the time. Not only are this some of weavers also getting the opportunities to visit some foreign universities. They go there and interact and tell the world outside about this craft they have treasured and nourished over the years. COST The weavers estimate the cost of the shawl woven in terms of quantity of extra weft patterning. More the pattering, fine and elaborate, there will be more hard work and needs more days to complete it. The labour charge of a weaver is Rs. 150 per day. The products sold in their shop, costs including the labour charges and the material cost.
  55. 55. 54 ABOUT THE PRODUCT During our visit to Bhujori we knew that the more the time we will be spending with the weaver on loom the better understanding we will be having about the weaving technique. So right from the beginning we wanted to develop some product out using the dhabla weaving technique and giving our own input as a design student to the weaver. But while thinking of the product we had to keep in mind the fact that the entire conceptualization motif development on the paper and then the making of the final product on loom are to be finished within the timeframe we had keeping in mind the other engagements of the weaver Mr. Ram Ji bhai as we have came to him directly without any prior information.
  56. 56. 55 CONSTRAINTS As a designer nobody likes to work in constraints. But here beside the time we had other constraints as well like  Color palate We knew that we won’t be getting the color of our choices here so we had to first of all take a look at all the available colors Ramji Bhai had. They had a very limited range of colors as they also do the dyeing according to there own specific demand to avoid wastage of yarn. So after looking at all the colors we finalized a palate which should go with our theme closely.  Material Also there were very little chances of exploring in terms of material. We knew that whatever we are planning to design it has to come out of the existing resources. The product we had decided to develop was a muffler, so we had to choose the yarns accordingly, since muffler as a product has an essential feature that it should provide warmth to the user. So we zeroed down to wool then in wool also we had to choose between the coarser desi wool and the Marino wool. But the finer Marino became the obvious choice then the coarser as the coarser is heavy and might cause irritation if worn around the neck.  Also then while giving the new designs and motifs we needed to understand and keep in mind the essence of the dhabla weaving. As we already know that the designs have to be out-and-out geometrical and pointed. Finer curvilinear designs are not possible with this extra weft patterning. So like wise we development motifs and form that complement the technique.  Then even while the weaving is happening on loom since all our motifs were new to the weaver he also took time in understanding the design. Also in dhabla weaving its important to notice that once a mistake has been committed then it becomes very difficult to correct it, because while redoing there are maximum chances of yarn breakage as the starch starts coming out . Moreover committing one mistake in a single shawl will spoil the weaving rhythm of the weaver for the next 19 shawls. COLOR PALETTES Depending upon the kind of colors available in stock and the kind of theme we were planning to work on, we selected our color palette which is as follows:  White body As we had already discussed that the ground of Kutch has mines of white mud if you dig it deep inside and also the interiors the floor of the houses here in Kutch are predominantly done with white
  57. 57. 56 only, the region behind this might be the fact that white reflects the direct sunlight keeping the place and the floor cool. So we decided to keep the warp as white. So that it radiates calmness and give relief to the eyes.  Green Greenery and pollution free ambience is a common characteristic of any village so the color green was a natural choice moreover here in Kutch one can find trees in the courtyard of every house as it keep the house and the weaving workshop cooler during the day time while the weavers sit outside and weave. And green in itself is a cool color.  Sepia One can’t imagine an Indian village without dust .so this sepia color was included to give that dull effect and the earthen look.  Coffee Then while we finalized the above colors we realized that its giving the look of a village but a dull and lifeless village except for the green so to add a little bit of life and liveliness we wanted to add a color which is warm, should show a smooth interaction with the other colors and at the same time shouldn’t be out of the palette of the theme the village so we introduced the color coffee. THE THEME Our theme for the product is the village. FORM AND MOTIF DEVELOPMENT We knew that we have a theme and we have to now generate a new design vocabulary and motifs keeping in mind the constrains of the original dhabla weaving we knew that even within our theme we couldn’t explore more in terms motifs and forms. So like wise we tried generating and simplifying every form related to the theme into simple geometrical state. For this first we tried understanding the  original local dhabla motifs  how they have been made  scale and size of the motif on loom etc MOTIFS Then we developed our own motifs inspired by the daily life and surroundings of a village like  Four square motif This motif symbolizes enclosure, boundary and fence which can be seen around the houses in the villages. It’s an architectural element.  Hut motifs We knew that triangular shapes are very popular among the traditional motifs so we have made another motif which symbolizes village huts and green trees surrounding the huts.  Animal motifs Cattle and cattle rearing is the trade mark of any village so we have reduced the cattle’s into simple
  58. 58. 57 geometric form to show their presence in the seen  Lamp or the ‘dia’ motif Lighting a dia everyday is a essential custom in most of the villages so we have included the dia motif to the scenery.  Female form In the whole body we have shown scattered female form motif to include a point of feminist in the design. DESIGN LAYOUT 1. Four square 2. Hut
  59. 59. 58 3. Animal and dia 4. Female form
  60. 60. 59 FINAL PRODUCT Muffler
  61. 61. 60 MAKING OF AJRAK
  62. 62. 61 AJARAKPUR - THE VIILLAGE OF AJRAK Ajrakpur is a village which is some 30 km away from the main city of Bhuj. We all were very excited since the day we came to Bhuj because natural dyeing had always excited all of us. And seeing the ajrak printing (which we had studied is one of the oldest known printing happening since the Indus valley civilization) happening right in front of us, we knew is going to be an amazing experience. We enquired the local people about ajrak printing and where exactly it happens in Bhuj. And we came to know tat there are currently 3 places (dhamadka, anjar, khavda in kutch and barmer in Rajasthan)where the printing is taking place with Dhamadka being the origin the printing now is said to have spread out in some parts of Anjar as well.
  63. 63. 62 We were also told that now most of its practisers have switched on to synthetic dyeing. As vegetable dyeing costs a lot so it’s not suitable for an ordinary artisan. But we as students had always had never imagined ajrak without natural dyeing so finally we decided to go to Ajrakpur. In the morning at 9:30 we went to the local bus stand its important to enquire about the convenes facility as otherwise there might be chances of you being exploited by the local autowalas. So we decided to go there by bus, Bhuj has a bus station which was at a very convenient distance from the place we were boarding. At the enquiry counter in the station we came to know that there is a straight bus facility for both Ajrakpur as well as Dhamadka. Dhamadka is some 60 km away from Ajrakpur and the bus leaves daily at 10 am in the morning. We boarded in the bus and after some 45 min the bus left us on the road. There was a tea stall where we enquired the owner to make sure that we are standing at the right place or not. Then the owner directed us that we just need to walk a distance of 10 min and we will reach the destination. And soon after walking through a distance of 10 min we saw men washing and beating some fabrics in community washing area. Water pump for running water supply
  64. 64. 63 Drying in sun As we move forward all the doubts and question marks we had came to an end as we saw men drying some wonderful fabrics the one we popularly know as ajrak today. We asked them to guide us to someone who can help us in understanding this craft and they guided us to Dr.Ismail Bhai house. As we entered the house we saw a late middle aged man sitting and interacting with a foreigner. As we joined the discussion we came to know that this gentleman is from England and has come to India to learn and research on natural dyeing and fixing. Then late in the afternoon Mr. Symond left and then we interacted with Dr. Ismail Bhai and asked him about Ajrakpur. He told us that the origin of ajrak is Dhamadka but later on with the drying up of the river they started facing the deficiency of water. Now he said that thy were left with only two options either they need to leave practicing the printing or they need to search for some other place which should have the availability of 24hr mineral free fresh water. So they formed a committee which was assigned the job to look for a land which should have all the required facilities. They saw many locations including areas surrounding Anjar. While fixing the final deal of the land they needed to keep in mind the following  Rate  Land  Kind of land water supply  Electricity etc. Every day they used to go with powder of harad in there hands to test the water incase the water turns black after adding harad it symbolize the presence of iron and other minerals. On 22march 2001 they brought the land and on 29 March 2001 all the deals were finalized. This is how finally on April 2001 they got the land on which the village Ajrakpur stands today. The village has a school till 8th but the village doesn’t have any hospital the villagers have to rush to Bhuj for other facilities.
  65. 65. 64 BIRTH OF AJRAK PUR Dhamadka is the village of ajrak, where only the ajrak makers dwelled. Now only few ajrak makers are there, rest shifted to making of only prints. This craft was struggling because of main reason, scarcity of water. With passage of time the safa river that flowed from near Dhamadka, has slowly dried up. Khatries tried to fulfill the need of water through bore wells, but the mineral content of the under ground water was not suitable for dyeing. Hence the khatries decided to change their place, where water is available in plenty and no minerals in under ground water, Ajrakpur 40 km from Dhamadka suited their requirements. Now Ismail Bhai and his family has sifted to ajrak pur, slowly other villagers of Dhamadka are shifting to Ajrakpur.
  66. 66. 65 DR ISMAIL BHAI Ismail Bhai was merely 13 when he started helping his father in the job of printing .his father used to work for the rabbari’s people. When there family migrated from Pakistan they were almost bank rubbed they had no clue as to how are they going to start an entire new chapter of there life again. When they initially settled in Dhamadka there financial condition was very bad they borrowed utensils from the kumhars. And had no permanent shelter of there own. But as time went by their condition improved and his father again stepped into there traditional family business of dyeing. During those days his father used to dye fabrics with Naphtol dyes .they used to source the fabrics from Anjar. As a child he studied in the village school but he was always interested in there traditional family job. Earlier he and his family in Dhamadka was into synthetic dyeing but later on they realized that this craft is much in demand in natural dyeing. Today he is a master ajrak manufacturer he himself is no more into printing now he is more like a mentor to his other family members.
  67. 67. 66 Juned bhai His son Juned Bhai has stepped into the care taking of the workplace. Dr.Ismail Bhai got the doctorate from the University of Britain in the year 2003 for his immense contribution towards this craft. He pays frequent visits to various universities in abroad on there invitation. He is also one of the key members responsible for the making of the village we recognize today as Ajrakpur. Color kitchen Dye container
  68. 68. 67 THE KHATRIES Khatries means dyers and printers. Khatries were invited by king Bharmel from Sindh to Kutch ruled by him. They were allowed to settle down any were in the Kutch region. As khatries by profession are dyers and they need good supply of running water for dyeing purpose. During that time river safra flowed from near Dhamadka. This place fulfilled their need and hence they settled in Dhamadka. King Bharmel excluded khatries form paying taxes under his rule. Khatries then were not only craftsmen but were also men of values, who were treated with great respect. They had the privilege to enter the ladies court where no other men were permitted. Khatries is also called mahajans whose word were valued and trusted. During that time, if a girl child born was immediately killed which was against the rule of king. If the girl child died due to a natural cause, khatries had to be a witness to it and only his words were taken to be the truth. RELIGION AND CASTE The village has an all Muslim population. Initially some 40 houses migrated from Dhamadka. 60 more houses still are in Dhamadka and they also will have to migrate once all the yet available water deposits will finish off in Dhamadka. The villagers have an estimation of 10 years after 10 years the entire village will migrate. Today the village acquires a land of 75 acre some of the land related deals are on the final stage. So needless to say in the midst of disappointments and problems the birth of Ajrakpur came as a huge relief for all the artisans who have patronized this craft since ages. FAMILY HISTORY The family origin is from sindh in Pakistan, where they were Hindu Brahmins (kshatriyas). “Jhinda”, their forefather who came from sindh, he had two sons. One remained Hindu and his family get settled in Siddhpur in Gujarat, while the other brother converted to Muslim religion and his family settled in Dhamadka. FAMILY TREE KHATRI MOHAMMADBHAI SIDDIQUE RAZAR BHAI ISMAIL BHAI JABBAR BHAI 11 CHILDREN 3 CHILDREN 3 CHILDREN ELDER SON DAUGHTER JUNEID BHAI Died in Earthquake
  69. 69. 68 LIFE STYLE Khatries community strictly follows the norms and rules of Islam, they keep head covered, men’s were topi’s or safa(turban),while women wear dupatta’s on head. They wear very simple cloth women wear gowns and men wear jhaba –kurta. They practice,5 times prayer “namaz” a day during Ramjan and keep religious fasts “Rojas” ,in which intake of food and water is prohibited for the day time. Children after age of 10 are made to keep Rojas. The family believes in the art of giving and no hungry or thirsty from their doorsteps. EVIDENCES OF AJRAK FROM PAST Traces of ajrak can be seen back in the period of Indus valley civilization. The famous statue of priest king from Indus valley, a fabric’s draped around the body. It is believed that the fabric is ajrak. Though it is not known that whether the shawl in printed or embroidered. Later on ajrak was made in sindh in Pakistan which historically has been trade oriented. Similar printing technique were practiced in Iran and according to Ismail Bhai, it was practiced in a village called ajrak in Jordan in Iran. Priest king
  70. 70. 69 AJRAK Traditional motif Ajrak as a theme means universal. So subsequently it is believed to have a color palate that compliments the universe. The colors like red is said to symbolize the “zameen”, the color black symbolizes “darkness”, white is for “clouds,” and above all is the own color of the “universes” that contains everything and that’s the color blue. The literal meaning of the word ajrak in Arabic is blue only. In the local Kutchi language however the word ajrak means “aj” “rakh” meaning keep it for today. As it is said that the more you will keep it for longer time, the much better color result you will achieve. Kalamkari motif
  71. 71. 70 MOTIFS Some motifs are strictly not ajrak, but could be combined with traditional designs to form are-rupiya bhat, gudli, and suraj and mukhi rekh. Motifs completely out of ajrak tradition and jhimadri, hairdo, that are used in ghagras, the chunino bauoto border motif used in odhnies earlier. The main ajrak motifs are hanso, taviz, koyaro, kungri, ecko, kharek, gini, chokdi. SQUARE MOTIFS WHO’S PATTERN IS BASED ON DIAGONAL AND MEDIANS  Kharek, date. This is the only motif which is done solely in red against a blue background.  Moru, peacock  Jileb, a kind of sweetmeat. The presence of a central cross and square is exceptional. SQUARE MOTIFS WHO’S PATETRN IS BASE ON TH REDUCTION OF THE DIAGONALS  Daduli, a round jewel box or cakki millstone; this motif is organized around a central circular element.  Chap, literally meaning print this is the only instance when the name refers to the artisans work and not to an exterior object  Badam, almond  Ishq peh, meaning a love affair symbolized by plants from the family of convolvulus, such as the morning glory and the bindweed.  Chalo sarkari, government seal; this refers probably to a ring with a seal and seam to go back to the time of British rule.  Coman, garden; traditionally used only for bedspreads, this motif is borrowed today for some types of ajrak.  Ghalica, carpet; another motif borrowed from the printed bedspread decors.
  72. 72. 71 Kharek Moru Jibel
  73. 73. 72 Dadulia Chap Badam
  74. 74. 73 Galicha Ishq peh Chalo sarkari Coman
  75. 75. 74 PATTERN STUDY There are two kinds of ajrak those printed on one side only, ekpuri, and those printed on both sides, bipuri. The latter of course, takes more skills and time and is therefore costlier. The most famous ateliers produced only bipuri ajrak .or so their owner claims. On the other hand, ateliers facing financial difficulties are compelled to produce ekpuri ajrak. Almost all the ajrak are printed against either a blue or a red background. If one describes them when mounted, the disposition of pattern is as follows: At both ends is the cross border, palad, restricted by these two cross borders are two borders that run length wise. The center is a rectangle, the ground, surrounded by one or more frame. Line of separation is printed between all these parts. Thus there is great variety of patterns. Some of them are very old while others are of recent origin. The simplest type of ajrak is called Naro vari ajrak. At both extremities one finds a cross border with to registers, separated and aligned inside by a line consisting of triple white stokes and called naro. The border consists of a plain red stripe enhanced on the inside by a triple white line.
  76. 76. 75 The central rectangle is decorated with one of the ajrak motifs. The most elaborate type of ajrak is called thi hashe-ji ajrak(ajrak with three borders).the cross borders, always with two registers, are emphasized by a line of separation named after its pattern , sadi vat, and which is found again on the inner side of a plain stripe to mark the longitudinal borders . Thus a rectangle is formed surrounded by three frames, each one separated by the same line, sadi vat and printed inwards with the following motifs: parai hasho, seleimi hasho and again with pari hasho. The angles are carefully executed so that there may be no over lapping or blank space but a perfect joining of motifs. The ground is decorated with the seleimi hasho motif or some other ajrak motif such as the badam. ARCHITECTURAL INFLUENCE IN MOTIFS The design and motifs used in the making of an ajrak have a strong influence of architecture. The design in ajrak always has a perfect symmetry. They were never asymmetrical. They don’t use human or animal figures in the designs and consider the use of such figures a sin. More of geometrical shapes and floral motifs like the Mughal architecture. Even the bandhanis made by the wives and daughter have floral motif or the geometric shapes. They were more influenced by the natural beauty surrounding them. The ajrak technique is also used in making malir and jimmi prints. MALIR It is similar to ekpuri ajrak geometrical, floral print, indigo and madder dyed. Mainly worn by young boys as lungi and meghwal groom wear a red malir with out which a marriage cannot take place. JIMMI It is worn by women. It has delicate floral center in deep blue with red background.
  77. 77. 76 GARMENTS Ajrak is worn by men of Muslim, meghwal, Jat and the gypsy community. Men wear safa, a shoulder cloth and lungi. Lower income people wear ekpuri ajrak, higher income community would wear the bipuri ajrak, double side printed, which was expensive and also a status of symbol as well. It is also a ceremonial dress, on wedding men wear new ajrak lungis and as shoulder hanging
  78. 78. 77 PROCESSING OF AJRAK Grey cloth for washing MATERIAL Grey cloth is used for making an ajrak, cotton or silk .basically ajrak is done on cotton. A bundle of grey cloth is purchased from the market. TEARING They tear the grey cloth by hand and the length of each material is 5 ½ meters WASHING The grey cloth is washed ,squeezed and beaten up to remove the impurities, the cloth is folded into 4-6 layers and then beaten up with a wooden mallet made up of babul (acacia nilotica indica)wood. This is carried out 3-7 times .This smoothens the surface and helps dyes to be absorbed in adequately. DRYING The materials are then spread open on the ground and allowed to dry.
  79. 79. 78 SAAJ A solution of castor oil, soda-ash and camel dung is prepared, which is called saaj. Bundles are made out of the saaj soaked fabrics, the bundles is then sealed in a sach cloth and left over night with a heavy stone above it. This ensures maximum penetration into the fiber of the cloth. The following day, cloth is laid flat to dry in sun when it is semi dry, it is returned to the solution of castor oil, soda ash and camel dung i.e. saaj and the drying stages are repeated 7-4 times until the cloth foams when rubbed. It is then washed in plain water. Fresh dung is alkaline which turns acidic on drying. Dung alkali is a bleaching agent and is absorbed by the cotton fiber. This process helps the cloth to become soft and help in printing with uniformity. At the completion of this stage, the fabric smells like mango pickle fragrance. Once the process is over material is washed 4-5 times. Dye making area in backyard
  80. 80. 79 KASANU The cloth is dyed in a cold solution of myrobalon (powdered nut of the harde tree). The cloth is then calendared, after which it is laid flat to dry in the hot sun. If the cloth is to be printed on both sides, it is turned over during drying to ensure sun treatment on both the sides. The mirobalan powder is then brushed off the cloth. Harde Washing in mirobelon
  81. 81. 80 The mirobelan treated cloths are then spread flat to dry under sun.
  82. 82. 81 PRINTING For printing, the craftsman uses woodblocks, pur, made by specialized craftsmen. Earlier, the bring blocks from Pethapur near Ahmedabad. But now they make their own blocks. The blocks, from ten to fifteen centimeters inn thickness, are always made from a hard wood to keep the contours of the carvings sharp for a prolonged use. Yet, blocks that are used regularly have to be changed every year. Several blocks are needed to complete the design of cloth and each block has a particular name, depending on the operation for which it is destined. Thus, one distinguishes asul, kot, khor, phuli, mina from the names of the different impression. Rough blocks made by the craftsmen themselves which are used to cover the borders lengthwise with resist. After use, the block are carefully cleansed with a pig- bristle brush and, eventually cleaned with a pig–bristle brush and, eventually, an engraver’s point is used to clean the holes in some blocks. They are oiled before being stored away. Different blocks for one design
  83. 83. 82 Printing table Printing is carried out on tables of length 6 meters and width of 1meter and 10 centimeter. The surface of the table have 15 -20 layers of cotton materials .this creates the surface soft and pliable.
  84. 84. 83 The chocthes are containers, like trays which are shallow and made of stripes of wood or bamboo sticks and tied by threads in placed in the chocthe and floats over the dye. The Capri is covered by a ladh which in turn is covered which in turn is covered by a muslin piece. Dye tray
  85. 85. 84 Cloth is pined up into the table The layout is measured on the cloth
  86. 86. 85 Then the layout grid is marked with blue ink powder, applied on a thread. The grids are then marked using this thread. Printing is done on the layout grid.
  87. 87. 86 Karyanu paste KARYANU Gum of Arabic is dissolved in water and left to soak over night, in an earthenware pot. Meanwhile chunam is soaked in water chunam is soaked in water separately. Next day chunam (lime) is added to the gum. The mixture is then filtered. In karyanu paste for silk cloth clay is also mixed with this paste. This is done ,as silk cloth is finer and thick resist is necessary. Dye try
  88. 88. 87 Gum of Arabic plant Clay used in resist
  89. 89. 88 Iron scrap KAT A paste is made by fermenting scrap iron (horse shoes, rods, etc). Jaggery (raw sugar cane) and besan (gram flour). This mixture is left to ferment which takes about one week in the hot season and two weeks during the cold season; a yellowish scum on the surface of mixture indicates that it is ready for use. the liquid or iron water is drained off and added to tamarind seed powder. The iron and the tamarind solution is thoroughly mixed, and then boiled for 1 hour. The resulting iron paste is printed on to the cloth This color is black (kat). On exposure to alizarine the black color becomes a permanent color. Kat printing
  90. 90. 89 Alum printing ALUM Tamarind seed powder is mixed with alum (aluminium sulphate) and then boiled for 1 hour to produce a printing paste for red area of the design. A small amount of fugitive dye is added to this in order to aid registration when used for printing. Traditionally (geru) red clay was used but chemical dye is now more common.
  91. 91. 90 GACH A paste of alum, millet flower, red clay and gum (gum from mimosa Arabica, almond gum) is mixed and printed on the cloth where there is large area of red in the design. A resist of lime and Arabica gum is also printed at this time. This combined stage is known as gach. This is also used to protect the design against indigo. Sawdust is sprinkled on to the printed areas to prevent smudging. After gach printing is done on the fabric, is left to dry naturally for several days. The past used for gach printing is made from local clay which is filtered through muslin, Millet flower and alum. The millet flower is boiled and then red clay and alum is filtered to achieve the required consistency for printing. Saw dust
  92. 92. 91 NATURAL INDIGO Indigo plant Natural indigo is made out of indigo that grow on wild trees. Once flowers bloom on these plants. The plant are plucked of, submerged in water one about the other. as the water turns blue. The plants are removed of the water is stirred vigorously till crystals are formed. Once the crystals sink down the water is removed of the crystal are put in a cloth and squeezed .they are then left on the sands to dry. Once they are dry, cakes are made out of it. These cakes can be preserved for 100 years or even more. This is how a natural indigo dye is made. Limestone powder, jaggery, salty clay and soda ash are added to indigo in water for a permanent blue color. Fermentation takes a month when the water turns yellow and the lather blue. Indigo is then ready for use. Natural indigo had been shunned by orthodox Hindus as it was said that the head of a pious man which had been cut by palace guard on behalf of the prince fell n running indigo water and the pious man died there, which was considered as a bad omen. Thus Hindus not even purchase ajrak made out of the natural indigo .the Hindu dyers are called rangari who are also known as chippas. Chippas, who specialized in indigo dyeing, were called neelgars. The Muslim dyers are called rangrez. It is also said that artisans and dyers worshipped indigo as it was a source of livelihood.
  93. 93. 92 INDIGO DYEING The cloth is dyed in indigo (bodow). In order to establish, sagikhar (a salt), lime, casiator (a seed from kuwada plant) and water are mixed in a clay vessel, plastic barrel or concrete vat. The dye bath is left to ferment for about one month sometimes; gag grey is added to this to aid fermentation. It is ready to use when the color of the solution is yellowish (best quality ) or greenish(medium quality ) with an established indigo vat, indigo, gag grey and water are added as required to maintain the strength of the dye color. Indigo cakes Indigo vat (vessel) A faster alternative is to the above, is to make a solution of natural indigo is caustic soda and hydrosulphate which is ready to use in one or two days.
  94. 94. 93 WASHING The material the next day is washed for degumming in the cool water. The water in this process is to be cool and not warm to prevent any smearing on the materials. Washing indigo Each one of the materials is beaten 4-5 times to remove the resist and extra indigo. Cloth is washed in running water and laid flat to dry in the sun .this stage is known as vichharnu.
  95. 95. 94 NATURAL ALIZARIN Natural alizarin is extracted from “al” tree. Al is cut from root with in 3-4 years. Al tree can be found in forests of junagarh and porbandar. With time these trees become scares in numbers, as to get the dye whole tree should be cut down. Government banned cutting of trees. Hence use of natural alizarin declined Scientists made a dye compound molecule by studying the molecular compound of natural alizarin, now synthetic alizarin is available in the market. It got its name from al – jar means root of al, hence alizarin. ALIZARIN DYEING The cloth is boiled in a solution of alizarin, sakun seed powder. Water is boiled in drum or a copper pot in which a solution of alizarin and sakun seed is thrown, after which the cloth is immersed. The operation lasts over two hours and the water is kept near boiling point all the time. The cloth is stirred to ensure a uniform dye while alizarin and sukan seeds continue to be added. The cloth, after being taken out, is left to cool until it can be picked up by hand. It is then put in water containing fresh camel dung, ut-ji- gissi, and left to soak for twelve hours. The next morning, the cloth is taken to the canal and washed in water containing soda ash and caustic soda. Alizarin This process is called tapai. It is followed by an operation called cat which consist in drying the cloth on a sandy bank, sprinkling it when it is half dry, five to six times. The term tapi is sometimes used for this last operation too. In the evening, the cloth is again washed and left to dry.
  96. 96. 95 MADDER Red color can also obtained by dyeing in madder, madder gives shade of orange red and alum printing is not required on the fabric for dyeing. So instead of dying in alizarin, the fabric is directly boiled with madder. Madder is a root of a plant... Madder powder MINAKARI The whole procedure from saaj to alizarin is repeated all over again. The second submersion of the material in indigo or alizarin is called minakari. The white designs may be selectively dyed in red or blue. BLUE MINAKARI The kariyanu is applied in selective areas of white. the design where kariyanu is not applied, in the area of white turns light blue .while, the exposed blue portion turns darker when dipped in indigo. RED MINAKARI The resist medium of powdered tamarind seed and alum is applied to selective areas of white. The white areas become light red while the red area becomes darker when dipped in alizarin. DURATION This process of making ajrak is long, tedious and time consuming. It takes around 15 -20 days, during summer the number of days required in winter. Ajrak is not a seasonal product but an all year round product.
  97. 97. 96 COST Ajrak made of vegetable dyes and natural indigo will cost more than ajrak made of chemical dye (napthol dyes). The cost also depends on the design of the number of color used. A single bed spread will cost 1000/-and above, a double bed spread will cost Rs 2000/- and above, and if it is a bipuri ajrak they will cost double the amount of ekpuri ajraks. A dupatta costs Rs 500/-and above .a table mat, napkin costs Rs 70/- and above per piece. A chemically dyed single bed spread will cost Rs 250/-and above a dupatta will cost Rs 200/- and above. CURRENT SENARIO Earlier traditionally the printers used to use vegetable dye but soon they realized that it was costing them too much so they shifted to the use of napthol dyes and the synthetic dyes but later on after the revival of craft today again the vegetable dyes are in demand. The artisans are introducing new motifs to there design library now. Earlier normally the body and the border used to be same but now instead of same complementing borders are in use. Earlier block used to be sourced from pethapur. But now blocks too are made in the home itself using all different machines like driller etc. Earlier natural water resources were in use but now bore wells are used. The artisans are also planning to set up a treatment plant to treat the polluted water. The craft is influencing fashion which will lead it to its glory. PROBLEMS FACED BY THE ARTISANS  Government loans  High cost of the blocks (one block costs around 3000rs.)  Lack of water resources(there are very few 1 or 2 bore wells)  Lack of new artisans(because of lack of payback and huge amount of labor requirement the new generation is a little reluctant in continuing the craft for livelihood)  Delay in Land sanctions by the government (the government has already wasted 5 years in handing over the entire land to the craftsmen).
  98. 98. 97 CONCLUSION In the end we would like to conclude that after finishing both our field visit and the compilation successfully we not only have a clear and complete understanding of the techniques and the artisans practicing the craft in totality but also this documentation provided us the knowledge of the whole environment in and surrounding the craft, which includes the history of the craft, raw material sourcing, equipments and sample collection etc. It also helped us in understanding the fact how social set up and caste system develops under the influence of mutual dependence. Most of the villages had their own history and story of migration. Our field visit also threw light on how the craft and craftsmen sustained and evolved over the period of time. It shows that both ajrak and dhabla has suffered changes in terms of basic motif color palate, material and the end use. Some where like in dhabla as we had already discussed earlier the color palate has become too contemporary, rather than a plain body we find over all pattering, etc. Similarly in ajrak the artisans are experimenting with new motifs designs dyes material etc. Today the craft is not only getting influenced by the market demand but also they are ready to except and experiment with new design inputs given by the designers. In a nut shell we can conclude that, the craft has become much flexible today. Various NGOs today are working in the direction of the upliftment of the craft by giving new inputs to the artisans. The NGOs run year long training programs under the guidance of faculties both in and out side India. They lure the artisans and provide them the financial support by paying them per day during their training program. NGOs also help them in terms of marketing their products. but still the number of such NGOs is very less than the number of artisans in need ,so the government ,the NGOs and the people who have a love for should come forward and try to design and find out a way to help and protect the interest of the crafts men who have been nourishing the craft since ages. We think it will be very interesting to notice how the artisans are going to keep the pace with the growing and changing contemporary world of fashion, keeping the soul of the craft as per as before.
  99. 99. 98 At the day’s end, a beautiful sunset in Mandvi beach.
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