The queen who built her studio with blocks

A visit to her studio, workshop and you will be enthralled by the many wooden blocks that fill her roof. It’s an asbestos roof, which is lined with blocks, etched by hand, over a thousand of them. Each one a motif she has personally developed. From the proverbial kairi to the jaali design you can find them all in Rani Jaykirti Singh of Baria’s large crafts atelier. Housed within her Jaipur home, it is a synonym of the royal tradition of living with craft. “Jaipur is India’s Paris. It is its design hub, the craft heart of this magnificent nation and a city that has given me my identity.”

A quiet bahu of the Baria family, her tryst with design happened by chance. “It was this master block printer who came to our home asking to be employed as a guard and he requested that he wanted a space where he could work with blocks.” An out-ofordinary request that had the family bemused.

She shares, “I was never a fan of blocks. I found them very bazaar-like. Till I got drawn to this ‘chowkidaar’s’ (imagine calling him that) brilliance and started giving him inputs on colour palette, design scale, etc, being a qualified textile designer.” He made a consignment for Jaykirti to wear and gift, but, instead, she was so swamped with ideas that she simply opened a cotton classic design studio by her name.”

Rani Jaykirti Singh of Baria — born into a noble family of Zorawarpura Kishangarh and married to Akhilesh Vijay Singh of the Princely family of Baria in Gujarat — is today recognised as a master of the craft of block printing and creating interesting silhouettes that look beyond the predictable to swirl into billowy cotton dresses, flowing anarkalis, sharp culottes and lyrical farshis… All made of the finest cotton and block printed in soft hues and shades.

Rani Jaykirti Singh of Baria — born into a noble family of Zorawarpura Kishangarh and married to Akhilesh Vijay Singh of the Princely family of Baria in Gujarat — is today recognised as a master of the craft of block printing and creating interesting silhouettes that look beyond the predictable to swirl into billowy cotton dresses, flowing anarkalis, sharp culottes and lyrical farshis… All made of the finest cotton and block printed in soft hues and shades.

She says, “Each one of us is born into a family with a rich history and heritage. A legacy that is far beyond monetary considerations. It is important that we add our own sensibility to this inheritance. My drive is to make a difference in the lives of my kaarigars by providing them employment and also sustaining their craft.”

As written in the Daily Gaurdian
        Published 6:00 am IST on 
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