Gujarat Textile – A Guide

Gujarat’s people are known for their taste in clothes. The penchant for color and fabrics that makes the Gujaratis stand out is stuff for legend. The state of Gujarat has a textile industry that is extremely flourishing, and is a main contributor to the art and craft industry of India. The fabrics and textile produced here is much appreciated all over India as well as abroad. The textile industry here leads in the sheer variety it has on offer for the customers. There are many subtle nuances that are involved in textiles, and experts seem to be able to identify types effortlessly. There are many factors like raw materials, yarn combinations, traditional methods etc that the types of Gujarat textiles are dependent on.

The reason the textile industry here is so enriched is that it has multiple facets. The industry is more than an industry per se; the craftsmen and rural artists are extremely talented and use a mixture of conventional and modern techniques. Craftsmen from different regions use different styles, and different communities, tribes, regions, and regions all have their own methods, and have contributed much to the textile industry here. The ancient traditions that back the textile industry has been kept alive all this while, and this has lead to the enrichment of Gujarat textile output. Let’s have a look into the verity of Gujarat textile products.

Bandhani (Tie and Dye / Dip)

Bandhani Dress
Bandhani Dress [image source]
Bandhani or Bandhej in Gujrat is among the most famous fabrics produced here, and is loved all over India and abroad as a tie and dye fabric par excellence. The tie and dye fabrics are created in the muslin (mulmul) cloth, and have a good number of Jamdani style motif work as well as gold checks. In using this technique, the fabric used for tie and dye is tied up into knots following a fixed pattern according to the effect required. The knotted fabric is then dipped into the base color, tied again, and dyed again; the process continues till the required effect, color scheme and pattern is achieved.

What decides the price of the fabric ultimately is the quality of the fabric, the complexity of the procedure followed as well as the patterns. Kutch, Saurashtra and Jamnagar are the main hubs for Bandhani work in Gujarat. The markets of Jamnagar have Bandhani Sarees which have Zari work done on them on display.

Dhamadka and Ajrakh

The Ajrakh block printing of Kachchh
The Ajrakh block printing of Kachchh [image source]
Dhamadka method uses wooden blocks to print patterns on fabrics. A major source of foreign exchange, the Dhamadka art is well known. Wooden blocks of varying thickness are used, from one and a half inch thickness to three inches. The design which is required to be printed on the fabric is pin pricked and chiseled on to a wooden block, and after this the artisans dip these blocks different colors and stamp it across the fabric, leaving behind the imprint of the pattern. The fabric is then left to dry.

Jetpur, a riverside town that is located in between Junagadh and Gondal, is well known for the Dhamadka work, and is found in yellows, blues, reds, maroons among other contrasting range of colors.

Kutch is another famous area for the Dhamadka art. Vegetable dyes, paraffin wax resist and such materials are used to print the brightly colored Ajrakh prints, and these are still in vogue in the midst of all the synthetic dyes.

Mashru

Mashru Silk Fabric
Mashru Silk Fabric [image source]
A mixture of materials, Mashru is a mixture of silk and cotton. The fabric was used originally by Islamic men, who were not allowed to wear pure silk. The weaving technique was famous in the Middle East. It is only in Gujarat that the Mashru technique of weaving is followed, and Patan is a chief center for Mashru Weaving.

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