Hand Painted Kalamkari Shawls from Silpinwita Das

by - Thursday, December 03, 2020


Hand painting cloth with natural dyes is an ancient art. In India it is known as kalamkari — "pen work". The freedom to place natural colour in a painterly way requires considerable skill and natural dye knowledge.

These contemporary works are the genius of Bengali artist Silpinwita Das, daughter of the famous kalamkari painter Ajit Das. Silpinwita's works are inspired by folk art and her studies of the landscape of Santinikan, which she describes as "red soil, and meadows of lush green paddy fields, where rows of chhatim trees and palms charmed me from the very beginning."

Silpinwita Das has named her work "Haridra". In Sanskrit, “haridra” means yellow, the colour of sunlight, warmth and spirituality. Each work is unique, distinct and entirely hand made. Each brings life and movement wherever it is placed, styled as a shawl, hung on a wall, or draped across a table.

The colour pallet is achieved with natural dyes; the black colour is created through a fermentation process using scrap iron, molasses, mahua flower, chickpea flour and betel leaf. Other colours come to life with Indian madder root, catechu (cutch), indigo, marigold flowers, pomegranate rinds, turmeric and myrobalan.

Each shawl is one-of-a-kind. There is only one of each design.


This kit includes 250g of Alum for mordanting and 10g each of our extracts: Buckthorn, Chestnut, Cochineal, Cutch, Eastern Brazilwood, Fustic, Lac, Logwood, Madder Rich, Quebracho, Pomegranate, and Weld. Full practical instructions and a detailed artisan poster of all the extracts included in the Kit.

Extracts easily dissolve in water and are so concentrated that only a small amount is needed.  Great to use with yarns, wools & silks.

Depending on depth of shade and type of fibre, this kit will dye approximately 2 kilos of fibre.

This year’s holiday shipping times are going to be difficult to predict.

For international shipping,
please plan ahead and allow a generous amount of time.

To our U.S. customers – don't forget that the exchange rate works in your favour, it's like an extra discount.

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