Kalamkari – The Art of Textile Painting

I am in love. With the amazingly rich textile tradition of India! As I select exquisite fabrics and furnishings for the upcoming bazaar, I can not resist buying double the quantity, so that I can have them at my home too. You can very well imagine what this is doing to my budgeting and thoughtful financial planning!


One such rich textile art that I am planning to get is Kalamkari. Kalam means ‘pen’ and Kalamkari literally would mean ‘Pen craft’. The name is believed to be derived from trade relationships between Persian and Indian merchants as early as the 10th century. Interestingly, European merchants had different names for similar textile art in their geography: the Portugese called it pintado, the Dutch used the name sitz, and the British preferred chintz. Kalamkari today is synonymous with both painted and hand block printed textiles that incorporate natural vegetable/organically derived colors, and the art is primarily practiced in the state of Andhra Pradhesh in India.


Kalamkari in contemporary furnishing…


Beautiful designs from Anupama

Kalamkari bed furnishing found on Overstock
If you would like to try your hand at creating Kalamkari fabric or painting yourself, you can find excellent tutorials here
[History source: Kalamkari Art]

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Comments (25)

  1. Hey! thank you so much for charing your thoughts! i tried to go to the tutorial but could not.. the link is broken…

    bye ! Morgane

  2. Ha ha, thats true Lynn…natural colors do tend to fade. But a good way to maintain such fabric is hand wash in cold water, and dry them inside out in shade
    9and not in the dryer) 🙂

  3. beautiful textile! in love with a pillows and bedspreads! and thank you for cool tutorial, very interesting I would like to try it someday:)

  4. vow! this is organic, with a capital O.
    chemical dyes should be banned, and organic clothing be encouraged. consumption and over bursting closets will stop. the crafts will return and prosperity will return to the land. And everybody lived in the democratic kingdom happily ever after…
    these fabrics are so dreamy…

    Liz(the cynical one)