Sunday, April 18, 2010

Amazing Ajrak Table Cloths dyed with Natural Dyes

Maiwa in Vancouver just got in a shipload of the most amazing Ajraks from India, dyed with natural dyes on certified organic cotton.  I got their blog post on it on Thursday morning, and since Robin and Sarah were going to the coast on Thursday afternoon to see Robin's brother John, I called the store on Granville Island and asked the young woman there to set aside some Ajrak table cloths for Robin to choose from.  They were still unloading boxes of Ajraks at the Maiwa East store when Robin visited on Friday afternoon.

Robin brought home 4 absolutely beautiful Ajrak table clothes (60 x 90 inches) to use for the studio display.  Two are dark indigo blue and madder red and two are paler medium indigo with a yellow -- probably myrobolan or maybe pomegranate rinds -- for a green shade.  The Ajrak is a traditional Indian cloth that is block printed with natural dyes.  There is a long tradition and lots of skill behind each cloth -- in the carving of the printing block sets, the stamping of the cloth with resists, and the natural dyeing.  My table clothes are one sided but there is a masterpiece that is a double sided Ajrak on display for the discriminating collector at $999.

The Ajraks are made by a village of Muslims in the kutch desert and their designs reflect the mosaic patterns of the muslim culture -- precise and mathematical and aesthetically pleasing.  Done in natural dyes they exhibit a depth of shade and tonal colour that is amazing.  I treasure the 4 table cloths that Robin brought home for our studio.  They will be an inspiration for my own natural dye work.