India, Sufiyan Ismail Khatri, Ajrakh Rug
An ajrakh rug featuring abstract rhombuses of various widths in a palette of indigo and henna.
This is one of the rst successful rug designs I made. Ajrakh didn’t have a tradition of block-printing on rugs. This started as a collaboration project with textile students of University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia in 2013-14.
The students visit my workshop to study and understand the craft of Ajrakh. Back in the university, they come up with the concept and layout for the design. And once developed these rugs go back to them as part of their collection.
We had to come up with bold patterns to go with these rugs. The intricate traditional ajrakh patterns wouldn’t work. Because of the thickness and texture of the rugs. The print and dyes from the surrounding areas would smear and smudge the intricate outlines.
This rug was printed with lime and gum arabica for the resist outline. The black areas were printed with fermented rust iron paste. And a third print layer with a mixture of clay and alum paste.
The piece is dyed in Indigo and then nally boiled in Henna which reacts with clay-alum printed areas to give a pale greenish yellow.
The product is made in Kachchh, India in my Ajrakh workshop using traditional Ajrakh techniques of resist-printing and natural dyeing.
Time taken to make: 14 days
Fabric: handwoven cotton rug
Size: 120 cm by 180 cm