Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing
A museum dedicated to preserving the hand block printing techniques of India, the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing was founded in 2005 by Rachel Bracken-Singh and Pritam Singh. The museum is located in Amer, Jaipur, in a seventeenth century property locally known as Chanwar Palkiwalon ki Haveli and is a cultural endeavour of the textile company Anokhi.
The haveli was acquired by Faith Singh, the founder of Anokhi, in 1989, and underwent a four-year restoration project by architects Nimish Patel and Parul Zaveri. The restoration used traditional building methods implemented by local craftsmen and was recognised by UNESCO with an award for Cultural Conservation in 2000. The museum began to come together in 2002, with a focus on contemporary iterations of hand printing techniques, such as collaborations with designers who reworked William Morris designs onto textile or reinterpreted the costumes of Russian designer Leon Bakst.
The Anokhi collection includes hand printed textiles, tools, objects and photographs derived from archives maintained by Faith Singh from 1969 onwards. It also features over a hundred hand block printed textiles, including a village dress from Balotra, Rajasthan, and ajrakh prints from Gujarat. Other objects in the collection include quilted coats and jackets, hand stitched and block printed bed covers, sheets and bichaunis that use hand printed textiles.
The museum is divided into focused galleries that feature an introduction to hand printing, the history of the haveli’s restoration, regional textiles, natural and chemical dyes, block printing and carving tools, the process of gold and silver printing and a demonstration area with artisans making block prints. It also organises block printing and wood carving workshops, with artisans demonstrating the process of printing using hand carved blocks.
The museum is credited with the preservation of hand printing technique, which has faced direct competition from machine-printed textiles.
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