Sakal Publications Presents Kathakraang: A Poetic Fusion of Dance And Book-Making
09 December 2021: Kathakraang is a poetic fusion of dance and book-making, where parallels are drawn as one experiences this work of art. The fluidity and graceful movements of Kathak as a dance form is captured through the handcrafted manifestation of the book itself. This limited-edition publication illustrates the hasta-mudras of dance and reflects on their numerous meanings.
This unique product is the beauty of the collaboration between two creative souls; kathak dancer Mrunal and book-artist Aditi. Their journey together explores the intersection of their practices and a shared passion for Asian traditions and culture.
It is a handcrafted, limited-edition product designed to be playfully dynamic and tactile. Essentially circular, the book can be unfolded and placed on a flat surface to assume the form of a sphere. Upcycled paper produced from fine waste cotton is used, embellishing each page with a unique natural texture. The deliberately retained frayed edges are from the organic process of lifting handmade paper off the deckle frame. Experiments with different hand-binding techniques led to the book being glued at the spine for strength and longevity. The hand-dyed red cotton fabric, which adorns the spine and the box, evokes an emotion of love and symbolises a sacred beginning in Indian culture reminds one of the Alta. The Alta adorns the palms and feet of a Kathak dancer, adding graceful prominence to their form.
Kathakraang illuminates the subtle hand movements or hasta-mudras of Kathak through its intricate line drawings. These are carefully transferred, to handmade paper with an ancient printmaking technique. Each graphic is exposed to a silkscreen stretched across a wooden frame. In this stencilling method, ink is pressed through the screen using a squeegee to ‘pull’ the design imprint on the surface. For this set of artisan-made books, 6,000 pages were screen-printed over 70 days, overcoming the practical challenges of faster ink absorption by both handmade paper and the screen.