I have great respect and admiration for Indian fashion and one of my particular favorites is the Indian sari.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

The Art of Decorating the Indian Sari

The methods used to decorate the traditional Indian sari have inspired many beautiful arts and crafts now used in both fashion design and in decorative works of art all over the world. Batik, tie dyeing, painting and printing on fabric have all been used for hundreds of years to create the luxurious decoration seen on the sari cloth.

The wall hangings above are batik works of art and below is a contemporary creation using painting onto velvet; it is also popular to paint directly onto cotton and silk. The themes for the paintings are generally folk lore and religion; these themes are also reflected in other forms of art like jewelery making, beading and leather work. The Indian embossed and dyed leather bags are very popular in western fashion especially with the younger generation.

Of course the more expensive the cloth of the Indian sari, the more elaborate the decoration. Representational woven motifs in the shape of flowers, figures or simply geometric shapes are created as part of the sari cloth. The weaving itself is often done using different coloured warp and weft threads to create an ornamental border. Gold and silver threads are used to decorate a more luxurious sari, this is called zari work. It doesn’t end there; more decoration is added after the weaving process; beading and embroidery are used to highlight further detail.

With the introduction of modern fibres and techniques the Indian sari can now be produced much more quickly on mechanical looms. These cloths do not need to be starched or ironed and because of the polyester, nylon, or rayon content, crease resistant saris can be produced. Decoration is also done by machine but the process itself limits the complexity of the design and simplifies the decoration. Progress is not always a good thing.

Hand-woven, hand-decorated Indian saris are of course very expensive and the machine imitations are relatively cheap. The high quality hand made Indian sari is still popular for weddings and other grand social occasions.

1 comment:

indianshilp said...

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