CRAFTS OF INDIA / AJRAKH PRINTING / RANGE
Traditionally Ajrak prints found their way on turbans, waist sashes, shawls, dupattas and chaddars, which were between 2 and 3 ft in length. Modern day usage sees them in sarees, home furnishings and shawls also. The range has widened and more products are added every now and then if it catches the fancy of the traditional printers.
Ajrak printing in Sindh, Pakistan, the Kutch district of Gujarat and Barmer, Rajasthan are fairly similar in regards to production techniques, featured motifs and the use of colours. Today it has spread to other parts in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan as well, though the traditional expertise in some matters still remains with the original pockets. Eco-friendly synthetic dyes and the use of machinery to save time may result in more production but the underlying fear of the purists is that it could jeapordise the traditions of textile art.
But all is not lost as long as the ethnic practitioners of this fabulous art of printing continue to maintain the use of natural colors and the process remains unadulterated by short cuts that always loom over olden methods in the effort to speed up the quantity. And of course a vigilant government to oversee that these ethnic experts get their due and an appreciative market that calls for traditionally made and pristine quality fabrics and is willing to pay the rightful price that a dedicated Ajrak printed fabric commands.
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