All about Chikankari...Behind the scenes.....
Chikankari is very intricate and delicate art form. Very few skilled artisans can do it and that's why it is our passion and humble effort to preserve these 300 years old craftmanship. We are proud to promote it and show our support to the very talented artisans, weavers and embroiders who are involved in these process.
So lets take this journey together and find out more about this evergreen, versatile, contemporary art ...Chikankari from scratch to finish...
Is Chikankari restricted to fabrics like Malmal and fine muslin cotton and done only in white color?
Chikankari was definitely practiced on fabrics like muslin, silk etc. initially only in white thread. As time went by, coloured threads were also introduced and done on other fabrics like chiffon, georgette and art silks as well.
What is the special theme on chikankari fabrics?
There are hardly any garments with Lucknow Chikan work that doesn’t have floral patterns or motifs. It is a strong influence of Persian aesthetics on this craft that has led to floral adornment on fabrics.
How is Chikankari done?
The Lucknow Chikankari technique is easily broken down into 2 parts; the pre and post preparation stages. The stitching is done in the embroidery phase.
What are the steps in the Chikankari process?
There are but three steps in the completion of the Chikankari on the fabric.
- Block Printing – The initial phase where the design is made on the cloth of choice. The cloth is cut according to the garment it will form and using multiple wooden block stamps, designs are imprinted in blue ink onto the fabric.
- Embroidery – This fabric is tightly fixed within a small frame called ‘Adda’, part by part. The needle work is done on the outline of the patterns. The skilled craftsman chooses his stitch based upon the region, the type and size of motifs.
- Washing – Once the embroidery work is complete, the fabric is soaked in water to remove the pattern outlines. After this it is starched to obtain the right stiffness depending on the fabric.
- Chikankari Stitches - Usually there is a combination of different Lucknow Chikankari stitches used within one whole pattern.
Lucknow Chikan embroidery should ideally be dry cleaned, though this depends more on the fabric than the work. Some fabrics, such as silk, need to be dry cleaned but others, like cotton, can be hand washed.