Kalamkari as studio practice

Artist Lavanya Mani, who is also part of our exhibition Indigo Waves And Other Stories, will conduct a one day workshop/demonstration, introducing her practice through the traditional Indian process of hand painting dyes directly on fabric. Her practice adapts the traditional Indian hand-drawing, printing and mordant-dyeing process called Kalamkari which is also known famously as chintz. She will introduce the participants to the history of chintz and the pivotal role it played in the Indian Ocean trade and colonization through slides of her work and will discuss how kalamkari is made historically and how it can be adapted for studio practice today through a lecture and demonstration of the multi-step process.

Lavanya will introduce participants to the techniques of preparing the fabric so it is receptive to the dye, starting with fabric selection, scouring, and pre-treatment with mordants. Each participant will get to draw with fermented iron oxide mordant on cotton fabric which is the first process in the long and elaborate technique of kalamkari. They will then process the fabric and will be able to take it home by the end of the workshop.

Lavanya Mani pursued a BFA and MFA in Painting from The Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S.U, Baroda. Her multi-layered works are a collage of the artist’s thoughts and ideas expressed through a combination of several different media, most notably various textiles that she has dyed, printed or otherwise worked on. The traditional textile-crafts like kalamkari that she references along with her muted palette give the artist’s audiences a sense of nostalgia, while the iconic images she uses allude to very contemporary issues.