Tie And Dye Bandhani: Why Knotty Knitters is in love with this craft!
One of the oldest forms of tie and dye textile art, Bandhani derives its name from the Sanskrit word bandh which means “to bind”. Earliest evidence of this art form’s patterns dates back to the 6th century paintings in Ajanta. Though it is practised in a number of Indian states like Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, most of the communities and centres associated with this art form are situated in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
As the name suggests, this technique is carried out in two stages, mostly involving cotton or silk fabrics. In the first stage, the cloth is plucked into tiny bindings or motifs using fingers at various markings all over the fabric. This prevents the colour from reaching the tied part during the dyeing session. As easy as the step sounds, it is a very laborious process that can take many hours and patience of mostly the ladies of the house who engage with this activity. A single stole can carry around 5000 knots!
For the design to remain figurative, the cloth is first marked using a tracing paper with holes following a specific design. The markings are done with washable inks. The type of design determines the category of the Bandhej fabric; if the dots are randomly plucked to create a general or common design, the resultant is Scatter Dots Bandhej, if the dots are on linear markings, the resultant is Sacrum Dot Bandhej and if the dots are placed to form an extensive design, it is called Bharti Bandhej (which as you might have guessed is the most expensive).
Finally the tied fabric is dipped into the dye solution. Since the tied knots don’t let the colours reach that part, once the fabric is taken out and dried, it gives us a beautiful piece of cloth with beautiful combinations of clusters and swirls!