Indigo blue, madder red, and a yellow derived from pomegranate rinds characterise the ajrakh blockprint. The many shades that arise from multiple dips in the dye bath hold potential for infinite combinations.
Initially the ajrakh is scoured, beaten, and mordanted to create a receptive foundation free of impurities. The cloth is then printed with a sticky mud, mixed into a paste with mealy wheat and jaggery. The paste forms a resist which gives way to a gentle tonal patterning.
The intricate designs demand great focus and commitment. The marvel of a two sided ajrak, with the pattern registered and printed once on the front and reversed on the back, is a testament to the precision and capability of the creative spirit.
Archeological evidence suggests that for thousands of years Ajrakh artisans were located near the banks of the Indus river. The river provided both a site for washing cloth and the water needed to grow indigo. With the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, artisan communities were tragically separated. Today the craft continues with variations on both sides of the border.
Maiwa actively seeks to support ajrakh artisans who live and work in the Kutch desert. We incorporate a large amount of their textiles in our bedding and clothing lines. While we assist in procurement of raw materials, maintaining high standards of quality, and product finishing. designs remain the realm of the craftperson.