There is a magical quality about Bandhini: vibrant colours, arresting combinations, dramatic swirls and twirls…
“Bandhini” derives its name from the Hindi word Bandhan which means ties, relation and therefore tying up. Bandhani is an ancient art practiced mainly in Western India.
Bandhini is the Rajasthani art of tying small dots on fabric with a continuous thread and dyeing it. The result is a vibrant and irregular mix of vermillion and saffron, emerald and sapphire or aqua and yellow. Interestingly, the art of tying involves the use of a long finger nail, which is used to pick that portion of the fabric which has to be tied.
Some of the finished clothing in the form of turbans, dupattas, and sarees come with embroidered borders sprinkled with glistening mirror work, others come with appliqué and patchwork borders or designs created with Bandhini and Lehariya. The kurtas come with dramatic yokes whilst some dupattas come with borders or tassels. The overall effect is very contemporary, even though the technique used may be traditionally old.
Leheriya (or leheriya, Lehariya) is a traditional style of tie dye practiced in Rajasthan, India that results in brightly colored cloth with distinctive patterns. The technique gets its name from the Rajasthani word for wave because the dyeing technique is often used to produce complex wave patterns
Lehariya is distinguished by the natural, ripple effect in mesmerizing colours, using a colour resist dyeing technique. The wavy, diagonal stripes created through this technique look bewitching in brilliant colour combinations.
The leheriya was patronized in the nineteenth and early twentieth century by the local traders and merchants who wore turbans of bright Leheriya fabric.
These are harmoniously arranged diagonal stripes, which were originally, dyed in the auspicious colors of yellow and red. Dyeing is accomplished by the tie-resist method in Lehariya where the patterns are made up of innumerable waves respectively.
The material is rolled diagonally and certain portions resisted by lightly binding threads at a short distance from one another before the cloth is dyed. If the distance is shorter, then greater skill is required in preventing one colour from spilling into the other. The process of dyeing is repeated until the requisite number of colours is obtained.
The Leheriya is a visual invocation of the flow of water.. creating a calm and restful coastal feel. Especially in Indigo it shows the wonderfully varying depths of colour after multiple mud-resistant and dyeing processes. No small wonder that the blues in leheriya attract the eyes instinctively.
One of the most tedious elements of shibori is picking out the stitching.
It does have to be done carefully to avoid cutting the fabric (easy to do).
Writing about textile crafts for The Hindu, Mita Kapur asserts: "The famous leheriya (zigzag pattern of irregular colour stripes) is a visual invocation of the flow of water at the same time painstakingly showing the depths of indigo after multiple mud-resistant and dyeing processes. No small wonder that the blues in leheriya attract the eyes instinctively."
Leheriya dyeing is done on thin cotton or silk cloth, usually in lengths appropriate for turbans or saris. According to World Textiles: A Visual Guide to Traditional Techniques, the fabric is "rolled diagonally from one corner to the opposite selvedge, and then tied at the required intervals and dyed". Wave patterns result from fanlike folds made before dyeing. Traditional leheriya employs natural dyes and multiple washes and uses indigo or alizarin during the final stage of preparation.
An additional dyeing using the leheriya technique produces mothara. In the making of mothara, the original resists are removed and the fabric is re-rolled and tied along the opposite diagonal. This results in a checkered pattern with small undyed areas occurring at regular intervals. The undyed areas are about the size of a lentil, hence the name mothara (moth means lentil in Hindi).
Leheriya turbans were a standard part of male business attire in Rajasthan during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Leheriya is still produced in Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur, and Nathdwara. It is offered for sale with most of its resist ties still in place as proof of authenticity, with a small portion of fabric unrolled to display its pattern.
An ancient and ever popular technique, tie-dye is a process of resist dyeing textiles typically using bright colors. While there are several variations in technique, the method basically involves patterns of color by folding, tying, stitching, crumpling the fabric to inhibit the flow of the dye into the folds of the fabric. The pattern of the folds and where the colors are squirted determines the final design.
Several variations of the tie-dye technique are evident the world over, from the Shibori in Japan, the Hausa technique in West Africa, Plangi and Tritik in Indonesia to the beautiful Bandhani, Ikat and Leheriya patterns of India.