Artisans & Traditional Techniques
Artisans & Traditional Techniques
As we strive for a more ethical and sustainable future, we look towards traditional ‘slow fashion’ hand-made techniques which have been passed through several generations and perfected over many years. We love working with our artisans. Their techniques inspire everything we do and we always look forward to visiting their units to see how they work first hand. It is no exaggeration when we say true craft takes time.
A lot of the techniques below follow hand-crafted steps, individually layering on colours and patterns. The production of each process is reliant on many interweaving variables such as changes in weather, changes in water, social traditions, religious ceremonies and inherently the artisans themselves; the result of which makes each piece wonderfully unique. It is the talent of our skilled workers that allow us to create our beautiful garments.
Woodblocking requires ultimate precision and skill. After the pattern is designed, it needs to be carefully transferred onto a wooden block and hand-carved to make a stamp for each colour. Once each part of the pattern is carved, the artisan then begins to print onto the cloth using the block as a stamp, layer by layer. Once all the layers of colour have been printed, the fabric is washed, and left to dry in the sun. This technique is done by eye giving it beautiful variations and a uniqueness to each piece. We fell in love with the woodblock process visiting our unit in Bagru, India.
The art of Bandhani is a highly skilled process done by hand. A specialist tie-dye process created by skilled artisans who create the lavish designs, tying each (often tiny) dot by hand. The technique involves dyeing a fabric which is full of tiny thread-tied knots, creating an intricate pattern on the fabric. When the fabric is submerged in dye, the tied areas of fabric retain the original ground colour of the fabric. If a second dye colour is required, the areas to be retained in the first dye are tied for resist and the cloth dipped in a darker dye.
Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole fabric. It is created either by drawing dots and lines with wax using a special tool or by printing wax onto the fabric with a wooden stamp. Once the wax has dried, the fabric is submerged in dye, with the wax printed areas resiting the dye and retaining the original ground colour of the fabric. Beautiful variations arise where the wax cracks and allows dye to seep in to the pattern, creating veins of colour across the design. Each print run is completely unique, adding to the beauty of this technique. Once dried, the wax is then removed with boiling water and the process repeated with other dye colours and patterns. The options really are endless!
Probably the most well known of our artisanal techniques, tie dye is created by tying, folding, twisting, pleating or crumpling fabric and binding with string or thread, followed by the application of dyes. This creates a mottled and ombre-like effect and the process can be repeated again and again to build multiple colours of dyes. Our tie dye is created by the artisans in our Jaipur unit, who pride themselves on using ETP (Effluent Treatment Plant) making the process of tie dye safer tor them and the planet. although the government require all dye units to use the ETP system, checks are not in place and often this method of water cleaning is not used.
Screen printing is a technique of printing dye through a mesh screen onto fabrics, using a stencil to block out the desired design. The artisans then need to wait for the layer to dry before repeating the process. The fabrics are typically dried outside, adding to the hand-crafted and natural feel of our range. One colour is printed at a time, so it can take several screens to produce one of our multicoloured prints. Once designs are finished, the pattern can be removed and the screens can be reused for new designs.