CHAPTER I . DYEING TEXTILES
Tie and Dye - Bandhani
In the Kutch region of the Gujarat state, in India,
the tie and dye craft is known as Bandhani.
ONCE UPON A TIME...
Bandhani arrived to this region in the 12th century when the Khatri community migrated from Pakistan. However, there are strong suggestions that in about 2000 BC resist dyeing was already practiced.
Bandhani tie and dye became an important local source of income, in the 18th century, with the export to Europe via the English East India Company. By this time, Bandhani artisans, and block printers, used local and vegetable dyes like madder and pomegranate.
After the 1956 earthquake in the Kutch region, the craft has been completely altered by the introduction of the cheaper and less time-consuming chemical dyes. It's here that the original knowledge of using natural resources starts to disappear...
THE DAILY-DAY BASIS DOTS IN KUTCH
Bandhani has a very strong cultural importance to the Kutchi communities, specially admired by all women, and the Kumhar, Jat, Harijan, Meman and Rabari communities.
In our days, the very artistic, innovative and creative Khatri community is the main producer of Bandhani.
The pieces can now have patterns adapted to the modern and international demand and sometimes around 100.000 ties!
In a series of dots, Bandhani designs create different shapes and motifs (peacocks, flowers, dancers, rasa mandalas) across a dyed piece of cloth. This will then be used on a daily-day basis and, the most elaborated ones, on special occasions like births, weddings, and goddess temple pilgrimage.
The technique of twist very tightly a thread around a section of cloth, dyeing it, and then removing the thread to reveal a circular motif has remained the same since Bandhani was first practiced.
First, with the help of butter paper, an artisan sketches the dot designs onto the fabric. Then, a cotton thread is tied to the cloth creating a dot - this one will after be dyed with various techniques, as many times and colours are needed.