Kalamkari is an ancient Indian art that originated about 3000 years ago. It derives its name from Kalam meaning Pen, and Kari meaning work, literally Pen-work.The Kalamkari artist uses a bamboo or date palm stick pointed at one end with a bundle of fine hair attached to this pointed end to serve as the brush or pen. The process of making Kalamkari involves 23 steps. From natural process of bleaching the fabric, softening it, sun drying, preparing natural dyes, hand painting, to the processes of air drying and washing, the entire procedure is a process which requires precision and an eye for detailing.Most of the colors are prepared using parts of plants – roots, leaves along with mineral salts of iron, tin, copper, alum, etc., which are used as mordants. The Srikalahasti style of painting draws inspiration from the Hindu mythology describing scenes from the epics and folklore. This style holds a strong religious connect because of its origin in the temples.
In recent times, two other types of Kalamkari patterns have also emerged, based on the states where it is created. Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh are two prime states in India, where two different types of Kalamkari patterns are done.The Andhra Kalamkari borrows design inspiration from forts, palaces and temples of India, along with motifs of animals and birds.The Gujarat Kalamkari depict motifs of mythological characters such as Krishna-Arjuna from Mahabharata, Lord Krishna, Lord Ganesha, Lord Buddha, and others.
Kalamkari work can be found at websites across the Internet.