An environment-friendly ancient craft, Ajrak gets its name from Azrak, which means ‘blue’ in Arabic, as blue is one of the prime colours in the technique. Characterized by the usage of mordanting and multiple dyeing techniques, Ajrak is a block printing technique that uses deep crimson red, and indigo blue backgrounds, and symmetrical patterns with intertwined unprinted sparkling white motifs.
The textiles are dyed and printed with vegetable and mineral colours. It is unique because the properties of the cloth then exceed the merely aesthetic outlook; the colours of the craft are believed to be such that they are cooling in the heat, and keep one warm in the cold. The dyeing is done with a variety of natural dyes, and mordants such as harda, lime, alizarin, indigo, and even camel dung.
Ajrak print is engaged within a grid, where the recurring pattern creates a web-like design or the central jaal (web). Labour-intensive at its core, the entire process can take over two weeks, resulting in the creation of unique eye-catching patterns.