Techniques & Materials

Alpaca Silver Alpaca silver is an alloy of zinc, nickel and iron. It contains no silver. It is bright and shiny and has properties similar to stainless steel.

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Bandhani Hand tie dying. The term “bandhani” derives its name from a Hindi word Bandhan which means tying up. It is practiced mainly in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, India.

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Batik The word batik means "wax written". It is a wax-resist dyeing technique mainly used on textile. Melted wax is applied to cloth before being dipped in dye. Wherever the wax has been applied to the fabric, the dye will not penetrate. Sometimes several colors are used, with a series of dyeing, drying and waxing steps.

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Block Printing The process of printing where a design is carved into a solid block and is then stamped onto textile or other material. Each color is stamped separately. It is a slow, meticulous process and can sometimes take weeks to finish a single item.

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Crewel or Crewelwork A decorative form of surface embroidery using wool and a variety of different embroidery stitches to follow a design outline that has been applied to the fabric. It is a style of free embroidery where designs are applied without regard to the weave of the underlying fabric, as opposed to counted-thread embroidery which is created by making stitches over a predetermined number of threads in the foundation fabric. Crewel designs frequently include a vine or leaf formation with floral details added.

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Crochet Crochet is a process of pulling loops through yarn or thread to create a fabric structure. It differs from knitting in that a single crochet hook is used rather than a pair of knitting needles. Crochet became popular as a lace making technique in the mid 1800's. Crochet lace typically uses finer threads and more decorative stiching styles.

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Cross stitch Cross stitch is a form embroidery using pairs of stitches that cross over each other to form and x or cross. It can be used to create simple or complex designs. Cross stitch was traditionally used to decorate household items or clothing. At one time, it was common for girls to create cross stitch "samplers" which featured floral and animal designs, samples of various patterns and stitches, and the alphabet.

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Dhokra Dhokra craft is the earliest method of non-ferrous metal casting known to humankind. The word “dhokra” literally means “oldest” and comes from the name of a nomadic group that specialized in this art form. Adivasi (literally “original dwellers”) communities in the Indian states of Orissa, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal carry on the traditional Dhokra craft methods, using the “lost wax technique”. This process involves twelve stages of preparation, and threads made of beeswax form the intricate designs. The wax melts when the hot metal is poured inside the clay mold, and the metal sculpture is formed. Consequently, one mold produces just one artifact.

The artisans traditionally made religious deities as well as vessels and instruments used in their daily life. Today, they make a wide variety of products, including statues, jewelry, and bowls, to name a few.

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Kalamkari Kalamkari is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, produced in parts of India. The word is derived from the Persian words kalam (pen) and kari (craftmanship), meaning drawing with a pen.

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Kantha Kantha is a type of embroidery popular in Bangladesh and in West Bengal, India and is characterized by having a border of decorative running stitch motifs. Kantha originated from the way in which housewives mended old clothes by taking out a strand of thread from their colorful saris and making simple designs with them.

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Lithophane The Greek origin of the word Lithophane means "light in stone" or to "appear in stone". Lithophanes originated in Europe in the 1820's when artists discovered that a remarkable three dimensional image could be produced by shining light through porcelain carved in varied thicknesses. The images are so detailed they can sometimes be mistaken for photographs. To create a lithophane, the artist first carves an image into beeswax. A plaster casting is then taken from this masterwork and a fine porcelain paste is pressed into the mold. Finally, the panels are kiln fired to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve their extreme density and translucency.

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Mandala Mandala is a Sanskrit word which means "circle". This hallowed diagram or meditation symbol is normally round and is a symbolic representation of the cosmos and its energy. It is utilized in Eastern and Native American medicine for curing body, soul, and spirit.

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Patchwork Patchwork or "pieced work" is a form of needlework that involves sewing together pieces of fabric into a larger design. The larger design is usually based on repeat patterns built up with different colored shapes

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Shibori Shibori is a term for several methods of dyeing cloth with a pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, compressing, or capping. Some of these methods are known in the West as tie-dye.

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