When the world is buzzing with sustainability and eco friendly as the current trend for future, for many centuries, several crafts have existed in harmony with nature. Some so subtle that they do not glare out, yet so vivid that one cannot help but appreciate the aesthetics in their creation. One such craft is AJRAK.
The name is derived from 'azarak', 'blue' in Arabic and Persian. It takes skill and patience to make Ajrak. There are between 14-16 different stages of dyeing and printing, which takes 14-21 days to complete. The resulting cloth is soft against the skin and jewel-like in appearance, pleasing to touch and appealing to the eye.
Ajrakh is printed as single sided (ekpuri) and double sided (bipuri). Traditional 'Ajrakh' involves various stages of dyeing and resist printing using natural dyes and mordants. Indigo and madder are the primary colours that are used for dyeing. The resist and some colours are printed on the cloth using carved wooden blocks. These blocks are carved with intricate symmetrical patterns so that the same block can be used for both sides of the cloth. Earlier specialist wood carvers made these wooden blocks. Now some of the artisans have learnt the techniques and make the blocks themselves.