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.
Where did this summer go? My sister left Saturday to take my nephew up to college in DC. He spent his first night in the dorm, and she’s heading back home later today. My own kids started school today… S in fifth grade (last year of elementary school!) and R in third. Gah!
Our goal was to have our online storefront up and running today, but we still have a bit more tweaking to do. As much as I wish the kids were here at home, I’m loving the quiet here, especially as I’m trying to get things done. Fingers crossed, our site will be up by next Monday.
And as it’s back-to-school time, here are some patterns from Sundara Fabrics that would make fabulous bags for school.
How much do I adore this? From Two Peas in a Pod Designs, the St Mary’s Backpack has an outside zipper and plenty of room to carry your supplies. I love how depending on your fabric selection, it could be preppy or funky.
Hope y’all have an easy transition to school this week. And if you are still on summer break, enjoy!
The West Elm catalog arrived last week, and I LOVE the pillows they are featuring for the fall… lovely jewel-tones with bold graphics. I think we’re going to have to make ourselves some!
Our block-printer/ textile designer extraordinaire in India, Gunmala, closes down her shop for a month in the summer, so we are still awaiting shipment of our block-prints. We do have these Indian prints available now, and I’m thinking they would make fun pillow covers.
Or for something really funky, maybe some pillows out of these African wax prints:
I’ve been brainstorming for options for Thank You cards that we could use in our packaging once we open our online store next month. First of all, I needed something that was affordable (keeping my fingers crossed that we will be selling lots of items). And secondly, since we started Sundara Fabrics to bring unique Indian fabrics to American quilting and sewing enthusiasts, I really wanted something that was representative of who we are.
The whole family (mom/ business partner, dad, and my two kiddos… hubby was in Miami for work) and I headed up to Knoxville a couple of weeks ago for one last quilt show before we start up. There we found Jamie and her lovely daughter selling wood block stamps from India, made just for printing on cloth or paper. How perfect is that, especially since we will be selling hand block printed fabric?!
I picked out a large paisley, while Syd chose a sweet elephant. Once home, we spent some time practicing with different paints and paper. I found that I preferred the classic look of the black print on a clean white background. And now we’ve got our first batch of notecards!