Kalamkari art was originated about 3000 years ago. The name was derived from Kalam which means Pen and Kari which means work, so it literally means pen-work. In this art, the paintings were made from organic colors and dyes, which were very popular at that time. This style of painting originated at Kalahasti (80 miles north of Chennai) and at Masulipatnam (200 miles east of Hyderabad).
The paintings were used to depict Hindu Deities and the scenes from Hindu mythology. The 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. Earlier these paintings were drawn cotton fabric only, but now we can see these paintings on silk and other materials as well. Kalamkari art involves both printing and painting.
The art has basically three forms Masulipatnam Kalamkari, Sri Kalahasti Style, Karrupur Style. The making of this or the process is very slow and vigorous. This art goes through a process of resist – dyeing and hand printing. Also, there are many treatments involved before and after the painting is done.
The color change totally depends on the treatment of cloth and quality of the mordant. In every step of this process painstakingly done and with perfection. This art has a flourishing market outside and inside India. Also when it comes to nature of color The colors used in making these paintings are organic. 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 mordents.