Kalamkari (literally means pen+craftsmanship) is an ancient style of hand painting. It is done on cotton or silk fabric with a tamarind pen, using natural dyes. In ancient times, groups of singers, musicians and painters, called chitrakattis, moved village to village to tell the village dwellers, the great stories of Hindu mythology.



They illustrated their accounts using large bolts of canvas painted on the spot with simple means and dyes extracted from plants. And so kalamkari was born out of an art of story-telling. It is practised in two distinct places in Andhra Pradesh and since then have been extended to include hand block printing.




Kalamkari designs are very vibrant and bright, its patterns including figures of women in yellow, demons in green and red and Gods in shades of blue. Process of making Kalamkari fabric, involves 23 steps. This involves bleaching Kalamkari fabric, softening it, drying it in sun, preparing natural dyes, air drying and washing. It primarily uses earthy colors like indigo, mustard, rust, black and green.