Amidst the arid land of Ajrakhpur
"When one walks into the town of Ajrakhpur, your horizon is met with small houses.
Looking up you'll see a blue sky and looking down an indigo earth."
Aj-rakh, meaning "keep it today," is the underlying essence of the textile craft. After each color is printed on the textile, it is kept in the sun for a day. The textile's deep rich colors and intricate techniques are 4000 years old, dating back to the Indus Valley.
On most days, you'll see me in a block print. They are my every day. My love for block prints cannot be complete without the town of Ajrakhpur. From the scorching desert heat in the summer to winter nights, the workshop of Dr. Ismail Khatri has been a huge extension in my knowledge of block printing and natural dyes.
Developing designs for blocks, experimenting with the existing ones, and innovating traditional colors has been a major part of my various time in Ajrakhpur. But with Juned Khatri, I co-developed natural dyed yarns in colors that are unusual. From acid green tones to several nude tones extracted from roots and leaves. Of how the day, night, sun, clouds, summer, and winter affect the colors, the textiles. Of how when we choose the imperfections in textile, we are choosing the perfection of this world really.
Developments in the studio of Juned Khatri
Sitting on a dastarkhan, served lunch by the family of Khatri's, was not just food that satisfied my stomach, but that of my soul. The meaning of motifs, the story of the community's settlement there, the origin of the textile to the toddlers who ran around, and told me of their views on the craft and their dreams for it, to the techniques that once were, and the ones that changed and one's that never will.
Reference for more technical details on the process of Ajrakh Block Prints: