Mary Mulcahy, Founder of Les Indiennes, yearned for beautiful hand-blocked textiles. She had a vivid picture in mind of naturally dyed cotton, with airy patterns of big, single colored motifs. Unable to locate anything anywhere, she decided to go to the source and create her own unique fresh designs.
Mary Mulcahy traveled to a tiny village in southern India where she met a craftsman named Srinivas. She knew at once that his work was what she wanted. Srinivas is one of very few craftsman who still practice the ancient art of Kalamkari, an extremely complex printing block-printing method.
The Kalamkari process begins with Les Indiennes fabrics that must be softened and bleached so that the fabric will feel as luxurious as possible and the colors, as vibrant. Bales of organic cotton are repeatedly rinsed and beaten against large rocks, then laid out on the grass to bleach in the intense Indian sun. If it rains, this step must wait.