NIAZ HUSSAIN SOMROO
WHO MADE IT?
HOW IT’S MADE?
Technique: AJRAK HAND BLOCK PRINTED
Is a hand block-printed fabric process that begins with the selection of high-quality cotton fabric. The fabric is washed, soaked, and then washed in Mai seed to achieve an off white brown base. Skilled artisans then meticulously carve intricate designs onto wooden blocks, with each block representing a specific motif or pattern.
Natural dyes, primarily derived from plants and minerals, are used to create the vibrant colors of Ajrak. Indigo, madder root, pomegranate skin, and rusted iron are among the traditional ingredients employed in the dyeing process. The fabric is carefully dipped into multiple dye baths, each adding a layer of color, while areas to remain white are blocked with a clay mixture.
Once the fabric is dyed, it is left to dry under the sun, allowing the colors to deepen and set. Following this, a laborious process of block printing begins. The skilled artisans apply the carved wooden blocks, each with its distinct pattern, to the fabric using natural dyes. They press the blocks firmly, repeating the pattern across the fabric with precision and expertise. This repetitive process creates the mesmerizing symmetrical designs characteristic of Ajrak. After printing, the fabric is washed and sun-dried again to enhance the colors and remove excess dye. Finally, the fabric is meticulously finished, often with intricate hand-stitched borders or additional embellishments.
The making of Ajrak is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process, requiring the expertise and dedication of skilled artisans. It stands as a testament to the enduring artistry and cultural legacy of Pakistan, preserving age-old traditions and captivating the world with its timeless beauty.
Ajrak holds significant cultural importance in Pakistan, particularly in the Sindh province, where it originated. Origianlly it was used only as a neck stole, however today many products are created from same technique such as home and tableware. The patterns on Ajrak often represent nature, spirituality, and ancient cultural motifs, showcasing the rich heritage of the region.