Kalamkari, a fun tongue-twister of a word, is a style of Indian fabric. Persian for “pen” and “work,” kalamkari have been in demand for centuries. Originating from the south-eastern coast of India, European merchants would purchase kalamkari (also known as chintz to the English) on their way to what is now Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Phillipines. Spice traders in the islands of South East Asia preferred to exchange their wares for these fabrics. Around this time, kalamkari was also exported to Persia where they gave the name for these painted fabrics.
Traditional kalamkari designs were first drawn on a cotton background, then colored with vegetable dyes. Today, artisans block-print the material, then use the kalam to add detail. The hand-made nature of kalamkari guarantees that there are no two pieces exactly alike.
With a look that ranges from the exotic to traditional, I’ve been noticing kalamkari prints everyone. Pottery Barn uses them in their home bedding and Sundance has a line of pricey quilts that lends itself to the style.
Our kalamkari can be found here. Priced around $5.00 a half-yard, these warm-toned fabrics would make gorgeous accessories or clothing for this time of year. Don’t forget that we are offering free ground shipping in the continental US until the 15th of October!
Info on kalamkari came from Indian Textiles, by John Gillow and Nicholas Barnard.