Dastkar Andhra’s eco-friendly collection heralds the arrival of summer.

It’s a cool summer splash yet with all the vibrant earthiness and the singing colours of an Indian summer. Dastkar Andhra’s summer collection, is a synergy of different weaving techniques, lyrical vegetable and ‘azo free’ chemical colours, the poetry of Machlipatnam kalamkari’s chrysanthemum and rose motifs and designs which are at once contemporary and rooted in the skills of Andhra weavers. Dastkar Andhra’s vision to establish handloom as a viable livelihood and technology finds a resonance in the lives of thousands of Andhra weavers. Also visible is their pride in their product which is contemporary, eco-friendly, aesthetic and innovative. Some are definitely ramp worthy.

Veerabhadra Rao and Veer Prakash, both paramparik weavers from Pullugurtha village in East Godavari District are clearly excited about the tie-and-dye fabric which they have created in muted shades of yellow, green, off- white and zari along with other combinations. The colours merge seamlessly into each other to create a beautiful texture of fabric.

The technique

Says Veerabhadra “This is a new weaving technique taught to us by Dastkar. We buy the yarn and tie it after which we soak it in the dye solution. The tied portion does not take the dye colour. After drying the dyed yarn we do warping and sizing after which we put the yarn on the loom. The motif comes in the shape of zig –zag and checks. We have also been taught to make natural dyes.” According to Veer Prakash “Dastkar gives us the design and colour combinations apart from teaching us new weaves. All the work done by us is taken by them to be sold at such exhibitions. Now weavers don’t leave the village to look for jobs in cities. Pulligurtha has 450 weaver families most of whom work with Dastkar.”

Ethereal dupattas in a spectrum of jewel tones: shocking pink, ultramarine blue, orange, yellow and rust with zari or temple borders, and saris ranging from soft Punduru khadis in stunning vegetable dye combinations or spattered with kalamkari flowers, and textured block printed yardage make impeccable style statements at the exhibition. The marketing for remote Andhra communities is done by the Dastkar Andhra Marketing Association or DAMA.

DAMA’S exhibition of eco-friendly Andhra Handlooms exhibition is on at C.P. Arts Center (Mini Hall), 1 Eldams Road, till February 19.

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