Over the past few centuries, there are various methods for fabric surface ornamentation like Dyeing, Printing, Embroidery and Painting, that the humans have invented. While the techniques for each of them are different, the end purpose of each one is same i.e. to make the fabric or apparel look beautiful and different.
The painting on fabrics can be differentiated mainly in two ways, one where the fabric itself is painted while in the other one, the complete apparels is used as a canvas to paint. In fabric painting also, like embroidery, there are various streams of craft like Kalamkari, Phad, Madhubani to name a few, which have become a tradition on their own. Then there is another set of artists and craft persons who get inspired from all of these techniques and apply them in a more contemporary style in free hand painting.
The craft of fabric painting needs to ensure a few things to become aesthetically appealing as well as long lasting –
First and foremost, the purity of the fabric on which the painting is being done. If the fabric has been finished with the techniques like mercerization or starch etc., the gap between the warp and the weft gets covered by them and hence the thread looses its natural tendency to absorb colours applied on it. To get the best results on fabric painting, the fabric has to be as pure as possible.
Once the purity of the fabric is ensured, the second most important aspect of fabric painting is the colours used for fabric painting. There are various types of natural colours as well as synthetic colours available for the same, but choosing the right type of colour is of paramount importance to get the desired results.
Then comes the final part, the artist, who uses her/his skills to create various designs inspired by anything from flora-fauna to architecture to poetry while applying colours on fabric. The skills of the artist decide the fate of the fabric after the painting as this skill involves the need to finding the right colour type, choosing the right colour palate, colour consistency, design, placement of the design on the apparel and last but not the least, handling of the brush and its flow on the fabric.