'Pata' is a Sanskrit derivation which literally means canvas. Pata-painting means a scroll painting on canvas. The art of Pata Painting (or pata chitra) is practiced by the artists of Orissa, a state on the Eastern Coast of India.
The painter first chooses two pieces of cloth (generally tussar silk) and sticks the pieces together by means of a paste prepared from tamarind seeds. They are then dried in the sun. The tamarind paste is traditionally prepared by placing the tamarind seeds in water for two to three days. When the seeds swell and become soft, these are ground with a pestle stone till the formation of a jelly like substance. In an earthen pot some water is poured along with this substance which is finally heated into a paste. The pieces of cloth thus pasted into one become a Patti. After the Patti is dried it is rolled up and from this roll, pieces of pata are cut and utilised for individual paintings.
The colors are hand prepared by the artists from natural ingredients like china-clay, soft clay (chalk), conch shell, red stone etc. The black color is prepared from charcoal powder. For white, the artists use sea shells which are available in plenty on the sea shores of Orissa. The sea-shells are powdered and the powder is kept mixed with some water for two days.The mixture is stirred properly until it becomes soft and milky. This milky liquid is then heated with the gum of Kaitha fruit (Feromia Elephantum). The paste thus prepared is then dried in the sun to form a solid substance.