The art of textile in India

Considered as one of the birthplaces of the world’s textile industry, India has a thousand year old history with the art of fabric, which has a real cultural value in the country. The different techniques are transmitted from generation to generation, and each region has its own specificities of weaving and printing. Here is an overview of these different techniques…


Famous cotton fabrics with floral patterns, Indians are used for both clothing and decoration. These fabrics owe their name to the fact that they were initially imported from the Indian counters. Indeed, since ancient times, Indian craftsmen have passed on the secrets of the art of decorating cotton fabrics. Long, complex and empirical, the manufacturing process of these indian fabrics relies on the use of mordants, metallic salts which, when applied to the fabric, have the property of fixing the dyes. This mastery of chemical processes gave birth to a palette of rich and brilliant colors, where madder reds and indigo blues dominate. Following a ban on their importation into France, several cities began to produce them themselves. We can mention Marseille, Nantes and of course Nîmes.

The Batik

The principle of batik is to draw on the fabric the final pattern to be reproduced, to protect areas of the fabric against staining by applying hot wax, to apply colors by dipping in dye baths. The operation will be reproduced for each of the colors, going from light to darker colors. At the end of the process, the wax is removed, either with an iron or by soaking in boiling water. This technique is widespread throughout Asia.

The block print

Block printing is a way of printing patterns on fabric using wooden blocks, which is very common in Rajasthan. The wooden blocks are carefully hand carved by the craftsmen, they are then used to print the patterns on silk or cotton. To learn more about this technique.

Ikat fabric

This technique has the reputation of being one of the oldest methods of resist dyeing. The threads are tied according to a precise plan and dyed before being woven. It is during the weaving process that the plan (or pattern) that was used to position the bindings appears. Artisans may spend months creating a pattern on the warp and weft threads before weaving.

Chanderi fabric

Chanderi is a traditional ethnic fabric characterized by its light, pure texture and luxurious feel. It is produced by weaving silk interwoven with zari – a regular thread traditionally made of fine gold or silver – and traditional cotton threads which gives it its shimmering texture. The fabric took its name from the small town of Chanderi where traditional weavers practice the art of producing saris.


Originating from Madras, this is a brightly colored Indian fabric with silk weft and cotton warp, woven with yarns dyed with natural dyes, or even banana fiber, stripes or checks. Due to Indian immigration to the West Indies, Madras is now associated with traditional women’s clothing in the West Indies and Guyana.


Kalamkari is a traditional pictorial art from South India. It is an unbleached cotton cloth, hand painted with a Kalam, a carved bamboo with a cloth as a reservoir, using vegetable dyes. The themes evoked are generally drawn from Hindu mythology, nature (flowers, animals) and daily life.