Handwoven, hand-dyed, and block-printed with natural dyes, this beautiful silk fabric has layers of design. Fine filature mulberry silk is woven in a window-pane gauze. Next, the cloth is dyed brown with kutch, a dye extracted from the bark of the arabica plant. When finished, the closely woven grid appears darker brown than the fine, open-weave fabric inside each “pane”. In the third step a specially carved block is used to stamp the fabric with a discharge paste that removes areas of dye and reveals the natural-colored silk. Finally, another block is used to over-print the fabric with black dye, producing an over-all pattern of black leaves that float across the woven grid. The black dye, called iron buff, is created by mixing and fermenting iron scrap with sugar. The final fabric is very light weight and sheer with excellent drape. It is suitable for interior decor such as curtains and decorative panels, and for clothing such as over-blouses and shirts.
Creative Bee is owned by Bina and Kesa Rao of Hyderabad, India. Their foundation commissions and supports traditional weavers across India to produce intricately woven cloth with several types of silk. Bina creates the designs that will be block-printed on the fabrics, and Kesa is a master dyer who oversees the preparation of indigo, kutch, and other natural dyes as well as the dyeing and block-printing process.