Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kalamkari-The Art of Painting fabric with a Pen-2

I have been wanting to post on this since long. But  I was busy and I also had to go through so much data I collected to sort out material for this post

My previous post on this topic is here:

Hope this was informative. I want to share some more facts on Kalamkari with you. Some of them may be repetitive. So here we go...

Kalamkari uses natural vegetable dyes.These are extracted from fruits, vegetables or minerals. Barks, roots, flowers fruits etc are used for extracting the colours. The fabric used is mostly cotton or sometimes silk which are both made from natural fibers. Kalamkari fabrics become more softer and more beautiful with usage.

The process of Kalamkari is very complicated and tedious. It involves a number of steps and at each step the fabric needs to be washed. I am giving the process in brief here. There may be some variations in the process actually practised from place to place and artist to artist.

  • Cotton cloth or mill cloth of fine quality - unbleached one is used. This is called as "Gada". This with stands a number of washes required during the process. Silk is also used.
  • Cloth is then whitened by immersing in a solution of goat or cow dung and letting it dry in the sun for a few days.
  •  Cloth is then treated in Myrobalan solution. Ripe fruits are used in Machilipatnam, and raw ones in Srikalahasti. This gives a light yellow colour to the cloth and acts as a mordant for fixing the black colour known as "Kasimi". Mordant is a substance that fixes the natural dye on the material. 
  • Then  Milk is added to the solution. This prevents the colour from spreading in the next steps
  • Kalam is prepared from bamboo sticks sharpened at one end (thin or thick) and tied with rags or coarse wool (like the shape of a balloon) a few inches above the tip, for holding the ink. Artists press this rag balloon the release the ink.
  • Desired design is drawn on the cloth with charcoal prepared by burning dried twigs of tamarind tree
  • Black Colour known as Kasimi  is a dye which is iron acetate solution made from fermenting iron pieces and jaggery solution. This Kaismi is the first dye to be used on the cloth. It is used for filling either  solid spaces or as outlines, or for writing texts or narrations, with a brush – pen in Srikalahasti, and wooden blocks in Machilipatnam. 
  •   All the areas meant to be red are painted or printed over with the alum solution as a mordant. 
  •  After applying alum, the cloth is left for at least 24 hours. Then the excess mordant is removed by washing the cloth in flowing water-usually river water.
  •  The dyeing of the red colour is obtained by boiling with the red colouring materials obtained from Madder roots (Manjistha) etc.
  • For blue, earlier Indigo was used. Now Ultramarine blue is being used
  • For green colour, blue is painted on yellow.
  • After applying all colours, the cloth is finally washed and dried.
These days some of the colours used are commercial ones like for red colour and blue.

Both Srikalasthi and Machilipatnam follow almost identical procedures. Srikalahasthi uses the pen and hence scenes from Ramayana and Mahabhartha, Gods and Goddesses and other mythical figures are painted with all the details.This process is very tedious and time consuming as each piece has to be hand drawn. Where as the Machilipatnam school of art uses block prints and hence  mass production is possible.

Here is another site which has given Kalamkari process:

Here are their products:

Keep an eye on my blog..I am going to post more on Kalamkari.....

India Wins!

Indian Vs Pakistan: Semifinals in World Cup Cricket.. 

CONGRATS to India !

Whole India was on tenter hooks for the past few days since they knew that India and Pakistan were to play in the Semifinals. No other match perhaps has this kind of tension or interest. Today many people stayed at home. Those who could not came back in time to watch the crucial match. Even my mom was ready for the match to begin in the afternoon.  

In the last over when one was sure that India would be winning, people came out on to the streets, distributing sweets, bursting crackers, congratulating each other and making merry.

Well I hope India wins the Cup. They did well today.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crocheted Baby Dress

I have been cleaning some of my old trunks and look what I have found. One of the baby dresses crocheted by my maternal grand mother. She was good at these things and I got my inspiration from her. She was especially good in Crocheting. The dress might have been made in a day or so sitting in the hospital watching over the expectant mother. 

The dress is very old one and has turned yellow. I need to wash it and see whether it can be turned to white. There are a few stains too. I may not be lucky with them. Any way I could not wait till I washed it. So I am posting this for you.

Its  a very simple one. No pattern just crocheted. But to me its value is "Priceless" as it has been made by my Gran who is no more. 

Oh by the way we call it sleeveless Jubbah. It can be worn by a girl or a boy. This was meant for a new born baby.
See the pattern is quite simple-slightly wide at the bottom. It has opening at both the shoulders with press buttons.
You can see the opening at the shoulders.
The pattern is plain simple and the edge at the bottom and the neck are same.
What you see above is the sleeve. It has got slightly scalloped edging. I have spread it in such a way that you can have a look at it. though it is simple what shines through it is my Gran's love and care for her children and grand children. I don't know for whom it was made. But I am sure we have all worn it.

She made many such things as she was innovative. But I have only  those which my mother brought along with her. The rest we could not find. May be they are some where in some old box waiting to be discovered. But these days many people don't care for such things. So even if discovered chances of preserving them may be remote. They neither preserve them for themselves nor give it to those who cherish such things. I feel sad but then it is not in my hands.

Well keep a watch on my much to share with you all.........


Hmmm...of  late I am feeling so tired and stressed out and also lazy. I have penned so many Rangoli Borders on various themes and also some Rangoli Patterns and Designs. But I am not able to photograph them. I will do now and also need to pen properly some of my created designs. Well here are some more Rangoli borders-with dots:

                Rangoli Borders
These are drawn using dots. We can also draw with out the help of dots but when we use dots the symmetry and size is maintained.
                  Rangoli Borders

Hope you like them. Some more next time....Just keep a watch on my blog...

Mangoes-an update

HERE  they are-the mangoes. They have grown a little more. In few days time we are celebrating our New Year. We make a special chutney using mangoes , jaggery, neem flowers etc . 

They would be sour and a little bitter since they are not fully grown. At this stage either due to birds or due to winds some the weak fruits fall down. But as children we were looking out for any such fallen fruit. We use to cut them into pieces and eat it with salt and  chilli powder. They are also made into pickles -a temporary pickle as they don't keep for long. Once the fruit are full grown in a month or so we pickle them which keep year or two.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Indian Traditional Jewellery-3

Edu Varala Nagalu-III

I promised Sujatha garu to write about this topic. But half way through I got side tracked  as I was away travelling. But now I want to conclude this topic.

My previous posts on this topic are here:

In my last post I said I would write about Satyabhama's Marraige to Lord Krishna. So here it is in brief:
                                 Lord Krishna

Lord Krishna was the Avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu one of the Trinities as per Hindu scriptures. Krishna in Sanskrit means, black or blue as the sky and also most attractive. He was blue (as sky) in colour and the most handsome and attractive. He wore yellow silk Dhoti  and peacock feathers in his hair. He authored Bhagavad Gita. He was known by many names as Vasudeva, Gopala Krishna and so on.

He was born into Yadava clan-the professional cowherds-ruling the region of Mathura. Later on He established His kingdom at Dwaraka in Gujarat. His deeds in his child hood, youth and there after are very beautiful to read. He declared himself as Svayam Bhagavan -I am the Supreme or Ultimate God. 

He is known as the model or divine lover and the divine love between Radha and Krishna is the ultimate love, something which every devotee wants.

Lord Krishna had 16000 and 8 wives. Eight were his princely wives. One of them was Satyabhama.

Satyabhama was very beautiful and daughter of rich and powerful Yadava King Satrajeet. As I have already written in my previous post Satrajeet did a penance and obtained the famous Jewel "Samantaka Mani" or "Syamantaka Mani" a huge dark red dazzling Ruby from Sun God who wore it in his neck. The possessor of this jewel would have peace, happiness and prosperity in his kingdom. But this jewel became famous because it gave the possessor 8 Baruvula or Bharas -or 1.5 tons of gold every day. 

Since the Jewel gave so much gold every day, Lord Krishna in one of the congregations of the Yadava Kings, requested Satrajeet to give the Mani to his maternal Grandfather Ugrasena since he was the head of the entire Yadava clan and the wealth given by the jewel would be utilised for the good of the people. But Satrajeet refused saying that he was not a fool to part with such a precious jewel which gave him wealth and prosperity.

Some time went by. One day Satrajeet's brother Prasenajeet went out for hunting. He wore the jewel in his neck. A lion mistook the jewel to be a meat chunk, attacked him and killed him and fled with the jewel. But  Jambavantha-a bear and great devotee of Lord Rama killed it and took away the jewel to his cave where he was living. He gifted it to his beautiful daughter Jambavathi.

As Prasenajeet didn't return back, it was rumoured that Lord Krishna might have killed him for the jewel and Satrajeet also accused Krishna. This made Krishna very sad. In front of chiefs of Yadava clan Krishna declared that he was innocent and didn't kill Prasenajeet. He claimed that he will prove his innocence and left with his companions on trail of Prasena.

He reached the spot in jungle where Prasena and his horse were killed by lion . From there he followed the pug marks of the lion and reached the spot where the lion was also lying dead. He found the footprints of the bear and by following them he reached the cave where Jambavantha lived. In the entrance He found Jambavathi daughter of Jambavanta. Leaving his companions at the entrance of the cave he went inside.

He then asked Jambavatha to return the jewel. A great fight took place between these two and lasted for 21 days. Jambavantha was hurt in the fight and became very weak and frightened. He then prayed to Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna revealed to him that He was Lord Rama in his previous incarnation and appeared before him in form of Lord Rama. Jambavantha was very happy and not only returned the jewel but requested Krishna to marry his daughter Jambavathi.

Mean while the companions waiting out side of the cave thought that Lord Krishna was in some great danger and went back to Dwaraka. The people of Dwarka and family and friends of Krishna started praying for his safe return. The Lord returned back, summoned Satrajeet and gave back the jewel and told him the entire happenings. Satrajeet felt ashamed and remorseful. He gifted the jewel and gave away his daughter Satyabhama in marriage to the Lord. But the Lord refused the jewel and gave it back.

He married Jambavathi and Satyabhama. Satyabhama came with many riches, jewels which included the Edu varala nagalu. She decorated herself with jewellery made of one particular gem depending upon the day of the week. She was so beautiful and these jewels added to her beauty. She was well trained in martial arts and fought the famous Demon Narkasura along side of Lord Krishna and killed him. To celebrate this occasion Diwali-the festival of lights is celebrated every year. She became even more famous with this and became even more egoistic. 

Because of her beauty, her riches, her status and as Lord's cherished wife she became very egoistic and was known for her tantrums and haughty behaviour. Lord wanted to teach her a lesson.

How He taught her a lesson of being modest, simple and what real devotion and love meant and what connection had this with her Edu Varala in my next post which will be concluding one in this series....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Heliconia Flowers

Heliconia -is a flowering plant covering around 200 species of plants. The word has been derived from the Greek Helikonios. These are also referred to as Wild Plantains, Lobster Claws and False Bird of paradise. These flowers are in different shapes but resembling mostly and in shades of reds and greens and oranges

I have these in may garden and when they flower they are really beautiful. It starts with one bud and keeps on giving out one in two three days. Here is the first days flower.

To me it looks like the beak of a bird. I love the red and green colour combination. Watch out for more photos as I will post its progress.

Friday-Free Patterns

I am always the late Kate. I just could not post the pattern in time. It so happened that my systems hard disk is almost filled up with data. So I had to take a back up and delete some of them to create space. It is a real tiring business. One thing is I am not much organised with my Data and dump them here and there. Saving data on external sources takes time. With the frequent power cuts, it is a nightmare. We have had to discard so may CDs/DVDs due to this. Anyway I have not yet catalogued my disks. With the result I had to search and search. I am still too tired from my hectic travel schedule and need time to recover. So here I am posting this motif late..

                     Peacock Motif

This is again a peacock motif. This looks a like a folk motif found as block printed on one of the saris I think. Earlier I just used to make a mental note of these when ever I came across these motifs and drew them when I was back home. I did not have a camera then. So I may not have remembered it exactly. Most of the time I carefully study the details a make a mental note of it till I can reproduce it on paper. But sometimes staring at some one just to make note of a motif or design is quite embarrassing...:) :)

Even if we have a camera we cannot just click at every one in public places. We cannot breach their privacy. So I still have to rely on my memory.

This can be used for fabric painting and embroidery. Chain Stitch, Satin stitch or Indian Herringbone Stitch would suit it I think.

Try it and let me know. I have still lots of motifs to pen properly. I have just filled my sketch pad with ideas. I need to give them proper shape. So brace yourselves and wait for more motifs........

I would like to know what you feel about these motifs. Are they any good for trying out?

Keep watching......

Saturday, March 26, 2011

GIMP Rangolis

Y-Knot has again developed one of my Rangolis into very beautiful and colourful designs using GIMP.....Just have a look 

I loved them..Hope you do too....

Oh by the way, please bear with me I am going to post the free pattern tomorrow.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Rangoli Borders

I am so tired just back from a gruelling trip and back breaking journey. But still the thought of sharing with you all energised me. I have a lot to share. But for now I am posting a few Rangoli Borders...

This one is on "Leaves"
These are curved borders.

I have many more-but I need to photograph them, organise and then post. I will try to do this week end hope fully.....

As of now I am too tired...but glad to be back home......Home Sweet Home..:)....

Good night for now...keep watching my blog for more.......

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Shankh Pola Bangles

The Red and White bangles worn by the married woman of Bengal are known as Shankh Pola Bangles. The white ones are made of Shankh meaning Conch shell and the red ones I think are of lac. Some say white bangles are made of Ivory. But I think that would have been in the past as these days, there is a ban on ivory and it is costly too. Moreover Shankh means Conch shell. 

Here is a glimpse:
This goes well with their traditional white/off white  and red sari. I always have a pair of these saris. I love the combination.

These bangles were offered to goddess Kali in Kolkata and after performing Pooja there they were blessed and given to me by my friend. The yellow stains you see on the white bangles is that of turmeric. I always wanted to own one pair of these bangles and now my wish is fulfilled :)......

Keep an eye on my blog......

UPDATE 2-8-2014: 

Friends one of the visitors, Ananya has given the link where you can buy these bangles. Here it is:

Visit the site and see for yourself. I have provided this as update here so that those who visit this post may not miss it. My thanks to Ananya for taking time to leave the message.
Hope you will visit the site. I am also planning to buy some.

Friday-Free Patterns

Its Friday once again and I am late in posting the Free Pattern. Here it is:

It is Peacock once again. This time it is a folk motif from India. As you can see the artist has designed it stylishly. We don't know the artist as many a times many artists from old times, might have carved this in stone on temple walls. That might have inspired the weavers or other artists. I guess this has been made into a wooden printing block as I found it on one of my saris. 
                Peacock Motif

This looks very simple and easy and can be used for fabric painting as well as embroidery. Chain stitch would look good. This can be used on saris, blouses, dresses to give that ethnic and unique look.

Hope you like this. So watch for more motifs and patterns.......

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crossandra Flowers

Crossandra- Kankambaram


Crossandra flowers bloom in shades of orange, yellow and a mixture of these two colours. In Telugu they are known as Kanakambaram. In fact the colour- mixture of orange and yellow and pink itself is called as Kankambaram colour. These are also known as Firecracker flowers . In some places in India, these flowers are also known as Priyadarsha or Priyadarshini. These flowers have different names in different regions of India.These are native to India, Srilanka and Nepal.

It is believed that these are favourite flowers of Lord HanumaLord Subrahmanya Goddess Laksmi and Goddess  Lalitha and offering them these flowers will please them. They are used for religious ceremonies as offerings to Gods and Goddesses and are also worn by our Indian women in their hair. They are strung together to form Gajras (Hindi) or Mala in (Telugu)-that is lenghts of woven flowers- woven together using yarn made out of cotton, or plant fiber like jute, banana etc..These are worn in the hair by the women. Garlands are also made for offering to Gods and Goddesses or for use in festive occasions like marriages etc.  Other flowers like Jasmine and fragrant leaves of Maruvam and Dawanam are also used for making these Malas.

Here take a look at the flowers blooming in my garden...
     Yellow Kankambaram

This is the yellow shade. It is bright in colour. 

      Green Kankambaram

Though the most common and popular colours are orange, yellow and a mixture of these colours known as Kankambaram shade, we have green and blue shades too. Unfortunately, I lost blue shaded one last Summjer and I could not photograph them. 


This is Maruvam-the fragrant stems with leaves are used in garland along with flowers like Jasmine, Crossandra etc.

One good thing about these flowers is that they keep for a couple of days without wilting even if worn in hair- provided we have not applied oil to our hair. We wear it in hair with the help of a hair clip, then remove it and keep in cloth drenched in water or refrigerator. If they come in contact with oiled hair they wilt quickly.

Here is one place where you can see how they are worn in hair by Indian women:

Here is a Kankambarm shade sari I have:
This is one of my favourite shades...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pray for Japan

All of us are shocked at the disaster in Japan. We have been praying for Japan and all those suffering there. May God give them strength and courage to face this difficult situation and find courage, peace and happiness.

My request to you all is please pray for their safety and hope that the country and people bounce back. Whether you believe in God or not, please pray..the more the better. As more and more join and pray sincerely God will help them.

One more thing is, due to certain planetary positions, we may have to face difficult times, natural calamities, unrest etc in the coming months. So please keep on praying. However there is no need to fear or panic as God is always benevolent and will always come to our help.

This is a call to my fellow Indians:

Those of you who give Arghya to Sun God daily, please keep doing so and pray for this world, people and the universe. Many learned Pundits, Gurus and astrologers have recommended regular recitation of Rudra Kavacham, Navagraha Stotras and those living near sea shore should recite Bhu Suktam and Chandra graha Mantras. 

Even if one cannot do these things, keep praying to God in what ever way you can asking for Samsta loka Sukhino Bhavantu;meaning all the worlds or the universe should be happy and peaceful.

My intention is not to frighten you or scare you. My intention is to alert you that is all. Those who believe in prayers can follow. Those who don't can laugh it off.....

Fragrant Flower

This is a flower which looks like Jasmine and button or miniature Rose at the same time. Its fragrance is quite heady. the flower in bud stage is dark red and has red stalk. But when it blooms it is white. We had this in our home when we were children. But I don't know what it is known as in English or Hindi. Can some one tell me if they know please?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Guess what?

Can you guess what this is?

Read about it here in my other blog:

Summer Times

After Shiva Ratri officially Summer has started in India. Though the day temperatures slowly start rising from January, it is said that  with Shiva Ratri(a festival of Worshipping Shiva) the winter goes away whispering Shiva Shiva....Already the temperatures are rising. It is unusually hot here for the Month of March.

Actually hot temperatures are recorded during April to Mid June-May being the peak. This year every thing seems to be in extremes,,too much of rainfall, too much of winter and now summer. We ourselves are responsible for this. We have to be truthful to ourselves and realise that we are abusing mother Nature to the maximum. So we are being punished for our sins. But how many of us learn from our mistakes?

Anyway last month when I visited a mango orchard, the trees were covered with flowers.
                  Mango Blooms
The mango blooms announce the arrival of summers. I love their tangy smell. When I am walking through a street and smell this tangy smell suddenly for the first time, I feel so thrilled. It is like smelling the summer..there is that excitement in the air..Summers Of India..are but celebrating Summers Indian way.....mangoes, jasmines, marriages and auspicious occasions, melons and sherbets... holiday times....I remember my child hood...:)

Now small mangoes have started appearing...recently I came across these small mangoes appearing in bunches ..I just could not help myself from clicking...
                    Raw Mangoes

Well we are eagerly awaiting our Telugu New year Ugadi-where we will be tasting the sour raw mangoes for the first time....

Just keep a track of my blog... I will post more on the Summers Of India....

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday-Free Patterns


Its peacocks once again. I am fascinated by these motifs. From my child hood I have come across so many different motifs of peacocks. I have noted down some. But alas! I don't know where it has been misplaced. I am searching for it . But I have some with me noted separately. Here is one of them...

             Peacock Motif-1
             Peacock Motif-2
I have given both ways. Hope you like them...Try them and let me know....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Embroidered Butees

So many of my friends are interested in knowing how to attach the embroidered patches or butees to saris or other dresses. I am going to post on the subject shortly. So keep an eye on my blog.


5x5 Blocks

Some more blocks...

More blocks to come...keep an eye...