Bandhani: Creating Spellbinding Patterns
Bandhani is perhaps one of the most widely recognised crafts from the Kutch region; a fine form of tie-and-dye, where tiny hand-tied knots create circular patterns that resist the dye. The earliest evidence of Bandhani dates back to Indus Valley Civilisation suggesting that the technique was practiced as early as 4000 B.C.
The term Bandhani is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘bandhan’ or ‘tie’. The technique involves dyeing a fabric which is tied tightly with an impermeable thread at several points, thus producing fine patterns that vary depending on the manner in which the cloth is tied. A meter length of cloth can have thousands of tiny knots known as ‘Bheendi’. After a complex process of tying, dying and rinsing, the crafts-person pulls away the ties carefully to reveal the circular, dye-resistant patterns on the fabric. Bandhani tying is traditionally a family trade practiced by women and passed on to their daughters. It is believed that the first Bandhani saree was created for a royal wedding and even today, it brings good fortune to the bride who wears it.
Varana has taken inspiration from this technique and created bespoke silk jacquards, woven with tiny circular motifs similar to those created by the Bandhani tie and dye process. The fabrics have a distinctive texture that is both rich and subtle. The sensuous dresses, trousers, skirts and jackets crafted from these jacquards connect their wearers, across time and geographies, to an ancient craft and aesthetic.