Ajrakh, A Perfect Balance
Summer of 2009, Bhoomi Dani, a revivalist by her approach, graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology where she specialized in Textile Design. She is the Design brain behind the brand and a true Libran who is always caught busy maintaining a perfect balance between traditional crafts and contemporary style to attain the perfect design statement which is at the core of Vraj:bhoomi.
Bhoomi after working a few years in the already defined fashion industry, made her way to Kutch, to relive the history of Indian culture by reviving its traditional textiles and launched Vraj:bhoomi in 2013.
“Since my college days, I was actively involved in researching, reviving and sustaining the inherent quality of traditional Indian crafts, and consistently seeking to push boundaries in the creation of a new aesthetic using old-world and traditional processes.”says Bhoomi. We further explore this journey and craft.
Gujarat, our land, our Inspiration, our Muse! Vraj:bhoomi’s roots lie in Gujarat, a prosperous state with high spirits, dynamic society and cheerful celebrations, a state with its true colors of rich heritage and cultural traditions. There is so much that the state has to offer in terms of inspiration: the music, culture, costumes, traditions, skilled craftsmen. The textile crafts of Gujarat that reflects through the medium of expression, culture, moral and traditional values is the very essence of Vraj:bhoomi. The beautiful textiles energized and embellished with hand techniques, the desert artisans and the diverse cultures of Gujarat has been a lifelong inspiration.
Balance of modern and traditional
At Vraj:bhoomi, we are on a quest for the Indian contemporary, rooted in its traditions yet global in its charm. ‘Contemporary Revival’ as a design expression is hold close and lies at the spirit of every creation. We are a concept-clothing label, working with regional artisans in transforming the traditional hand block printing skills to ethical aesthetic wear. The brand is deeply involved in researching, reviving and sustaining the inherent quality of traditional Indian crafts, and consistently seeks to push boundaries in the creation of a new aesthetic using old-world and traditional processes. We try and create the perfect synergy of innovative patterns and immaculate tailoring, coming up with designs that suits the classics and contemporary in equal and in exploring the traditional Indian textiles and translating those to the most urban and chic outfits.
Indian textiles globally
The second most intriguing aspect of India apart from its rich culture and heritage is the diversity and vastness offered by the Indian textiles. Right from the traditional, artisan-based textiles since the ancient times to the contemporary and globally-acclaimed, chic modern designs, Indian textiles have remained true to its core and essence. Today, the flourishing textile sector of the country continues to lure the world. Our key strength is highly skilled craftsmanship & Entrepreneurial skills backed by an oldest and most diverse culture which is a composite mixture of varying styles and influences whereas increased global competition is one of the challenges.
Now more than ever, there is an awareness in the fashion & textile industry about its impact on planet and people. While oil still remains the most polluting industry in the world, the fashion industry comes in at a close second. The reason for this comes down to two crippling words: fast fashion.Sure, the low price points associated with fast fashion can be tempting for any consumer, but the overall price of fast fashion is wreaking havoc on our world, in more ways than one. Pre-industrial revolution, garments were locally sourced and produced. People would buy durable clothing that could serve them for a long time, or make their own from the textiles and resources available to them. Clothing reflected the place and culture of the people wearing them.
Modern day Slow Fashion has seen some of these old ways come back into the picture. It encourages us to buy less garments at higher quality, made from more sustainable processes and also puts emphasis on the art of clothes making and celebrates the skills of the craftspeople who make them.
To participate write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Craft Project wishes to document tangible anthropology i.e material culture of a place and comment on its relevance in the contemporary space. We also wish to bring together a community of cultural travelers and craft entrepreneurs and create a collective of common motivation. The Craft Project celebrates Diversity in culture through objects, folk arts, crafts, and design. Through this project, we will be conducting community-sourced primary research and publishing about crafts and will involve brands, NGOs, collectives, makers, designers, curators, thought leaders, other publications etc.
A piece of textile is both a work of art and design
I see art and design as two different languages communicating the same message. Art and design may intersect: Art Inspires, Design Motivates. Art Is Interpreted, Design Is Understood. Art Is a Taste, Design Is an Opinion. Art Is a Talent, Design Is a Skill. And I do believe that a piece of textile is both a work of art & design.
The vast arid desert is the birthplace of many beautiful crafts. Ajrakh is one such oasis in the sand dunes of Kutch. Ajrakh, it's not just another fabric! The life giving water from the ever flowing river, The constant energy from Sun, The sacred colors from the plants and rocks. The intricately carved wooden blocks from the heart of tree trunk, The magical hands of artisans, Brings life to this fabric.
Ajrakh printing is a long process involving many stages of printing and washing the fabric over and over again with various natural dyes and mordants such as harda, lime, alizarin, indigo and even camel dung. The technique of resist printing allows exclusive absorption of a dye in the desired areas only and prevents absorption on the areas intended to be left uncolored.The raw fabric is pulled thoroughly through the river many times, scoured, beaten, steamed, mordanted, printed, covered with powdered camel dung and ground rice husks; dyed in deep madder and indigo.
Unlike other processes of block printing on cloth, where the colour is applied directly on to the cloth, in Ajrak printing, the fabric is first printed with a resist paste and then dyed. The process is repeated again and again with different kinds of dyes, to eventually achieve the final pattern in the deep red and blue hues. This gradual process is also very time consuming, as the longer an artisan waits before beginning the next step, the more vivid the final print becomes. Thus, the entire process can take upto two weeks resulting in the creation of the beautiful eye-catching patterns of the Ajrakh.Water plays a vital role in the production of Ajrakh cloth. Through each stage the character of the water will influence everything – from the shades of the colours to the success or failure of the entire process.