In Indian wood block printing, an achara is the humble cloth spread on top of the table before printing. It lies underneath the printing fabric, to provide a cushion and facilitate a uniform print. An achara can be used repeatedly for years and remains mostly unseen.
The achara records and captures the process of a print house, displaying the residual data of countless print runs as an accumulation of trace marks. It preserves the memory of the prints it receives, while simultaneously transforming the record of each imprint into an entirely new document.
Adele Mattern's work in India with master blockprinter Ziadunn Mohammed marvels at the beauty of the achara, and Mattern now creates garments from these palimpsests. With a new unique line of clothes, thoroughly one of a kind, Mattern has created a collection that exemplifies the slowest kind of fashion imaginable.
To read more about Indian craft techniques, you can order your copy of Selvedge issue 77 here.