Ever seen an intricately hand drawn kalamkaari and been mesmerized by its fluid lines and sharp details? It might not surprise you then to know that in ancient times, kalamkaari artisans were known as Jadupatuas or Duari Patuas. This can be translated to ‘magical painters’.
Kalamkaari has an old and old rich history. Used as currency in the spice trade centuries ago, Kalamkaari fabric was used for ritual and ceremonial purposes. Prayer rugs and canopies painted with floral and animal motifs were traded in the Middle Easten market while tree of life motifs adorned hip and shoulder wrappers and narrative wall hangings were sold in the European markets.
Personally for us at Shiuli, Kalamkaari presented a unique opportunity : of re -imagining a classic art form in a way that it seamlessly comes together with our signature minimalist aesthetic. After weeks and months of experiments in the area of achieving this, we finally arrived at a process that significantly increased the hours put into creating a single saree but also led to a piece that was both jaw dropping-ly beautiful and a contemporary avatar of a classic art. For after all those days of labouring over design, we were in a place where we could combine the most unusual colours and kalamkaari as well as place it across the saree in such a way that the intricate beauty of the free hand drawing and hand done colour fills stood out in sharp contrast to the rest of the saree.
To take a look at some of our classic kalamkaari designs on tussar and chanderi head over to our online store.
If you have an unusal kalamkaari or have styled a classic kalamkaari in an all new way, leave us images and messages in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you and witness the different ways in which this classical art form has found a way to weave itself into our lives.
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Conceived as a coming together of the musical and storytelling traditions around the most primaeval of all Indian garments, the saree, Shringaara, a 2 day women’s collective celebrates personal stories and memories.
The red setting sun casts a haze over the Bharatapuzha river as we cross into Pallakaad, Kerala. We are on our way back after a fulfilling, tired day, well spent with our weaver Raju who weaves dreams on our Kerala kasavu sarees.