Kalamkari is a traditional Indian craft predominantly related to cotton fabric. In this craft, fabric is patterned through the medium of dye rather than loom. Ochre is one of the few colors which cotton would take on easily. But for other colors the fabric is to be initially treated with mordant that facilitated the absorption of the desired hue. Mordant can be easily applied either with block or with a brush or pen like instrument on a pre woven fabric.
The use of the kalam (pen) on the cloth lent the term kalamkari to this art form. This art was used for decorative or functional hangings in domestic and monumental structures as wrapping and covering material, or in costume.
There are five key areas in Krishna district in South India where the craft is practiced however there are several departures from the earlier practices. Mordant is uniformly printed with the block. Indigo dying has been virtually relinquished and the application of wax resist by kalam is also absent from the procedure. Mordant for outlining in black remains the same.