Gujarat has a large flourishing textile industry which contributes to the arts and crafts of India. The textiles have a large variety to offer to the end consumers. It mainly depends on factors like varied raw materials, combination of yarns and effective use of traditional techniques. The enriched range of textiles owes to the people of different communities, castes, tribes and regions of the state, who have kept the age old tradition alive. For instance, Tangalia fabric from Surendranagar is inlaid with thread during weaving, to create geometrical patterns and peacock motifs. Deesa fabric was originally worn by tribes of Gujarat. It contains geometric patterns with bold black outlines, in deep earthy colors.
Bandhani or Bandhej of Gujarat is one of the best tie and dye fabrics
in India. These are produced on the mulmul (muslin) cloth, often
combined with gold checks and motif work in the jamdani style. In this
technique, a portion of the fabric is tied into tiny knots, following a
pattern. Then, the fabric is dipped into a base color, followed by
retying and dyeing. This is done several times till the final color
scheme and pattern is achieved. Eventually, the complexity of the
process and the quality of the fabric decides the price of a Bandhani
piece. The main centers of Bandhani work in Gujarat are Kutch, Jamnagar
and Saurashtra. You can also find Bandhani sarees, adorned with Zari
work, in the markets of Jamnagar.
Dhamadka and Ajrakh
Dhamadka is the art of printing fabrics with wooden blocks. This is a
major foreign exchange earner of the region, along with the modern
screen printing art. The technique uses wooden blocks of around 1 ½
" to 3" thickness. The design to be printed on the fabric is
first pin pricked on the wooden surface and later chiseled. After this,
the blocks are dipped in different colors and stamped across the fabric.
This leaves an imprint of the design of the block on the fabric. After
printing, the fabric is fixed in river Gondali and spread to dry.
Dhamadka is widely practiced along the riverside town of Jetpur, midway
Gondal and Junagadh. Its block prints are well known for the river water
which brightens the colors of the fabric. Dhamadka block printing is
available in a range of contrasting colors like maroons, yellows, blues
and reds with patterns generated through tiny dots. Another popular area
of printing is Kutch. Apart from block printing, artisans here also use
vegetable dyes, paraffin wax resist and patricate-printing material.
Though synthetic dyes and modern techniques have come up, bright Ajrakh
prints are still in vogue.
Mashru is a mixed fabric, woven with a combination of cotton and silk.
It was originally used by Muslim men, as they were prohibited from
wearing pure silk. This weaving technique was prevalent in Iraq and the
Arab countries. This might have been the influencing factor for the rise
of Mashru tradition in India. It was once woven in the whole country,
but has now been confined to the state boundaries of Gujarat. Patan is
one of the most important centers of Mashru weaving. It is practiced in
different styles, like ikkat patterns in stripes, with extra warp
threads, by the depression of the warp threads and even on a pit loom.