The intricate process of Rogan painting on fabric ensures the bright richness of colors and an embossed effect so that the painting can be felt as well as visually admired. Rogan hand painted embroidery patterns on cloths which was originally developed as an alternative to the very craft of hand stitching itself and favored by various communities, has today grown into a high art form transcending traditional design pattern carving out a niche of its own through the innovative design expressions of the Rogan artist.
And this is where Rogan welcomes a unique craft form where the artisan has moved beyond the form into a work of art. Each and every Rogan piece is a magnificently executed work quite simply exuding the skilled technique of the artisan. The lone family of Khatris who have brought about a cultural and commercially viable revival of this art form, raising it to a level of international recognition work on wall pieces of various sizes, highly prized as collectibles. The design is an eclectic blend of Persian miniatures, abstract renditions of folk art forms in a constantly evolving design influx that bedazzles the mind.
Paintings involving patterns displaying the inlay work of architectural monuments, embroidery playfulness worked into an intricacy of linear imagery intertwined with floral and natural undulations flowing from the stylus of the artisan is the fascinating aspect of Rogan.
The common fabrics used are cotton and silk through which a variety of products including saris have began to emerge.
‘Rogan’ , a legacy kept alive through generations by a family of ‘ Khatris’, the traditional embellishers on cloth is a surfacial hand painted art form leaving a wonderfully embossed feel on the fabric. Traditionally Rogan originated as a cheaper and quicker alternative to embroidery and the illustrations used those patterns that defined the communities for whom it was being made. Ghagaras were painted along their lower plane of ecliptic in stellar triangulations of geometric shapes with floral ‘butis’ or lines of color on the body.
Safflower linseed or castor oil is extensively boiled into a paste to which is added a color palette hard ground from mineral and eco-viable sources. These colors are then stored in earthen pots with water to retain their malleability. This thick gluey paste of color is ensorcelled on a wooden or metal stylus and dexterously applied on to the dyed fabric creating the uniquely embossed patterning, that is the hallmark of Rogan art.
Sometimes gold and silver tinsel is sprinkled on to the finished design to accentuate its beauty and value. A variety of vivid colors ranging from warm to cool are used keeping in mind the demands of the market. The art work is conducted in two distinct styles, one – a freehold geometrical pattern of linear imagery and two – a detailed work is painted on one side of the fabric and then the cloth is folded into half with a precision born out of experience so that it unfolds into a mirror image covering the whole fabric. The artisan of today uses a combination of both techniques and also a thicker stylus to handle the color filling.