The world has become fast-moving and a costly place to live in! Although we as humans appreciate art and human touch in every object we look at, we tend to incline towards things that are fast and cheap. The fashion industry, especially the handloom saree market is not an exception here. It has been hard hit by this fact and the artisans suffer from huge losses since their handicraft skills are marked as overrated and people have started preferring the easy, bulk and cheap machine-produced power loom sarees over original, handcrafted and unique handloom or handcrafted sarees.
The World of Kalamkari:
The original Kalamkari saree is handpainted in Srikalahasti and its hand-block printed counterpart is mainly done in Machilipatnam. But nowadays screen printed kalamkari on poor quality fabrics are ruling the world ! Unable to identify the original ones, people settle for the screen-printed variety.
The Uniqueness of Handpainted Kalamkari Sarees:
Starting from the fabric, hand painted pen kalamkari sarees stand out with their distinct odour and colour, since a paste of myrobalan seeds and buffalo milk is used for seasoning the fabric and to fix the natural hand-painted colours.
Be it hand painted tussar kalamkari saree or pen kalamkari saree with Kanchi border, the process of creation of the hand painted kalamkari sarees remains the same from seasoning to drawing to painting to washing to drying to making it market-ready. Making one custom Kalamkari saree can take up to 20 days and hence owning this wearable art is dignified and hence it is also priced for the talent and efforts of the artisans.
The Major Differences between a hand painted kalamkari and a screen printed one:
- The base colour of any kalamkari fabric is off-white and the natural dyes lend a subtle and sober glow when painted instead of a bright and vibrant tone as in screen-printed imitation kalamkari work. This is because only natural organic colours from plant extracts are used in hand painted kalamkari instead of the chemical dyes used for screen printing.
- Motifs like leaves, flowers, peacocks, swans, elephants for instance differ from one another in a hand painted work and the beautiful imperfections make them perfect and worthy! So always look for flaws and imperfections which prove the authenticity!
- The screen-printed kalamkari work will not have an equal amount of dye on either side of the fabric, whereas the original handpainted pen kalamkari sarees will have equal seepage of colours on the inner side also and retain their originality.
- Screen-printed kalamkari sarees are priced at cheaper rates because they are machine-made and produced in bulk with perfectly spaced similar motifs and detailing. This is not the case for kalamkari silk sarees and kalamkari tussar sarees, because of the tremendous work and detailing that our artisans put into it along with their heart and soul. One can easily identify the original pen kalamkari sarees with their irregularities in designs.
- As the fabrics are washed multiple times during the process of kalamkari, they are soft, raw and earthy
How The S Studio bridges the gap:
The S Studio is the one-stop shop for beautifully handcrafted handloom sarees. You can now buy kalamkari sarees online, kalamkari sarees with Kanchi border, kalamkari silk sarees which are custom made in The S studio’s designs by expert artisans. Support traditional artisans by buying authentic kalamkari handloom sarees of your choice from The S Studio, Chennai.
Shop kalamkari sarees online, Click Here