Indian art and design have a huge role to play in today’s creative world, with a vibrant and exotic appeal that simply cannot be denied. At the root of it all is the simplicity and inherent charm that is evident in everything from ancient carvings to modern paintings.
The use of colorful and eco-friendly Indian textiles for fashion and decor has become a huge trend, both within the country and internationally. Top designers everywhere are falling in love with the versatility and visual appeal of Indian fabrics. Interior design trends are also incorporating the incredible range of textiles that reflect ‘Incredible India’.
Let’s take a fresh look at these gorgeous materials, the way the world does!
1. Bandhini – Known to the world as tie-dye, this art form has roots in India, Japan and other South Asian countries. Tying off areas of the fabric before dyeing them creates unique and beautiful designs on the surface. Traditionally used for creating colorful scarves and clothing, bandhini can now be seen everywhere!
The variety of colors and patterns that you can find with this beautiful textile is practically unbeatable. This makes it ideal for pretty curtains, cushions, clothing and many more fashion or home design accessories. Pick up a gorgeous tie die cloth and use it as a table runner, or ask the local framer to mount it on canvas for a new piece of art for your living room!
2. Ikat – Like tie-dying, ikat is a technique that uses resist dyeing to create patterns and designs on fabric. The difference is that the fabric for tie-dye or bandhini is treated to resist color after it is already woven, while ikat uses dye resist on the threads themselves, before they are woven into the desired pattern.
This is an extremely precise art, since the thread needs to be colored and woven perfectly to ensure the final design emerges. The gorgeous textile can be used for bed sheets, pillow covers, clothing, bags and just about anything else you’d like. In fact, a colorful ikat table cover or lamp might be just the pretty accent your home needs!
3. Kantha – This embroidery and textile treatment is unique to West Bengal and Odisha, with layers of silk or cotton stitched together using a simple running stitch. The beauty of kantha-work lies in the fact that it is one of the oldest techniques of re-using old fabric like quilts, clothing or linen to create new ones.
Repurposed clothing and home decor is a huge winner in today’s eco-friendly and carbon-footprint-conscious world, so kantha embroidery is definitely a winner. In fact, you can display a gorgeous kantha-work quilt on the wall for a really unique piece of art!
4. Batik – Created using a precise technique that uses wax to create ‘color-resist’ areas on fabric during the dyeing process, batik is one of the most popular Indian textiles in the world. Designs can be simple or intricate, but they all have one thing in common – it takes a lot of effort to bring them to life!
Since the batik technique is usually performed on fine cotton, you can use this fabric on everything from pillow covers to wall hangings. Add a classy touch to your home with a large batik painting on the wall, or even a cluster of smaller ones in similar colors or styles!
5. Kilim – This gorgeous woven textile is usually created on a tapestry loom and features geometric designs in bold colors. Traditionally used to create rugs and tapestries, the revival of kilim has seen this material being used in a variety of products, from fashion accessories to upholstery.
It can be difficult to find hand woven kilim in most areas, but you can usually get printed fabric with designs inspired by the art form or machine woven variants. Use the fabric for cushions or bolsters on your favorite couch, or even to add a pop of color to an indoor ‘jhoola’!
With the rest of the world being enamored by India’s colorful history and culture, it’s surprising that a lot of us automatically turn to the West for design inspiration. The variety of traditional design elements found in the country have served as a base for countless projects across the globe. It’s time we look at our motherland with fresh eyes!
(Header CC Image Courtesy - proxyindian on Flickr)