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This cheerful shawl is a product of one of the most labour-intensive textile crafts in India: Kalamkari.
Kalamkari is hand painted or block printed cotton fabric. Only natural dyes are used and there are no fewer than 23 steps that are followed when making kalamkari.
The dyes are extracted from plants, roots, leaves and other plant material. To ensure that the colors are suitable for use in cotton, mineral salts are used, such as iron, tin, copper and alum.
The first step in making Kalamkari is soaking the fabric in a bath of substances that help fixating the dyes. One of the ingredients is buffalo milk. If you think this shawl smells a bit typical, then you know: it's buffalo milk. The smell will disappear by itself over time.
The next steps of Kalamkari consist of applying various colours, outlines with natural mordant and finally parts are painted by hand. The outlines of the design are applied with a bamboo or date palm stick with a bundle of fine hair at the end. This brush is soaked in a mixture of cane sugar and water.