Ajrak Print or Ajrakh is a unique block printing textile of Sindhi community – THE SINDHI BLOCK PRINTING, mostly in India, and Pakistan. The clothes and shawls are printed with various very fine detailed patterns and designs using the block printing method of stamping. Resist printing method is used to print both sides of the fabric in Ajrak textiles. The printing is done by hand carved wooden blocks of various patterns.
HISTORY AND ORIGINS
Ajrak or Ajrakh is a predominant Sindhi artifact. It is a Persian style textile which started long back in the middle ages, which is evident in the design of Ajrak textiles and Medieval design and architecture.
Ajrak can be called the identity of Sindh and Sindhi people. Ajrak is a symbol of pride and respect for men and glory for women. Sindhi people also present Ajrak as a gesture of hospitality to their guests.
The tradition continues centuries later, and people use the same methods to produce Ajrak textiles that were used centuries before.
The garment has become an essential part of the Sindhi culture and apparel of Sindhis. Men use it as a turban or wind it around their shoulders or simply over one shoulder as shawls. Women use it as a dupatta or a shawl.
MAKING OF AJRAK
It is a very tedious task to produce a finished Ajrak textile, it requires a lot of manual labour and time. Each step is different and requires different skill sets.
At first the block stamp is made. The stamps for the press are made of wood only, specially of sycamore, plane and pear wood. Now the block is specifically hand curved into various beautiful geometric, symmetric patterns.
After the wooden block is ready, fabric colour is evenly applied on the block. For the colours, natural dyes are used, it includes vegetable and mineral dyes. The colour of Ajraks are mostly Crimson, or Deep Indigo, with minor details with different colours.
After the block printing, the cloth is dried in the Sun, and after that a special oil treatment is done for the colours to remain intact for a long time.
Ajrak is one of those traditional styles which is prevalent in fashion of current times too. Many fashion designers are choosing the Ajrak style to design unique Indo-Western fashionable wear.
Today, Ajraks are mostly produced in Pakistan and Gujarat state of India. The demand for such designed sarees, lehengas, and kurtas are in high demand during the festive and wedding season.