Weavers from the remote parts of India exhibit their products at Sangini.

They live in remote regions of the country, connecting the threads which make up the wonderfully diverse mosaic of India’s crafts and weaves. They cultivate and collect cotton, make yarn and dye it in lyrical pools of colours and deftly handle the loom to create ancient weaves. Today, the artisans of Okhaimandal, Gudimudi, Kotpad and Pittal are part of a growing craft movement driven by NGOs, corporate sectors, individuals and societies, which connect tribal and rural talent and creativity to contemporary textile markets. NGO initiatives such as Okhai, Women Weave, Nirja and Dwaraka, as well as Hands of India and Dastkar along with Sambhalpuri ikats and Kotpad weaves craft a story of joint creative enterprise, sustainable development and empowerment. Their lifestyle products such as kurtas, kurtis, stoles, dupattas, salwar sets and accessories feature their craft skills like abala work, intricate embroidery, bead work, patch and appliqué work in contemporary and trendy formats. These are being showcased at Weaves and More which opens in the city today.

The Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development has set up self help groups involving 450 tribal women, from villages of Mithapur and Babrala in Okhamandal, Gujarat, to bring their traditional crafts of mirror work, patchwork and embroidery into ready-mades. NIFT designers not only suggest layouts for their craft work but design the outfits following contemporary trends. The affordable ready-mades and accessories feature smart pintucks and stripes along with juxtaposing of block fabrics.

Women Weave is an NGO working with the tribal women of Gudimudi, who are adept at making highly spun yarn, on their ‘amber charkhas,’ which is used with the help of Maheshwari weaving skills to make fashion wear, stoles, hand bags and so on.

Other NGOs displaying their work in Weaves and More are Nirja with their stylish hand bags and artefacts and Hyderabad based Dwaraka which works with Kalahasti’s kalamkari artisans to create a range of party bags, dupattas and stoles. Hands of India’s ready-mades featuring embroideries from all over the country and Dastkar’s hand-woven fabrics from Andhra are other exhibits at the show.

Ramesh Chandra Mehar, the paramparik weaver from Sambhalpur holds up a rare ‘Pasapalli’ ikat sari which has taken him a month to weave. The motifs depict compelling patterning in red, black and white. “This is a special sari worn by Odissi dancers,” says Ramesh as he displays five kinds of ikats that he specialises in . Other saris that are striking are the rare matka and tussars, Kotpad cottons, Bengal silks and Kotas rich with ari embroidery in gold and silver.

Weaves and More is on at Sangini, Besant Avenue Road, (opposite Royal Enfield showroom), Adyar, till May 12. Phone: 6565 1111.