Dreams woven in silk

In Resplendent hues: At the Silk exhibition. PHOTO: M. KARUNAKARAN  

Romancing silk is an age-old rite synonymous with the aesthete’s need for adornment. Whether silk spells passion, pastime or just plain curiosity, ‘Tantavi’ (means ‘material from the loom’ in Sanskrit), a silk textile exhibition to be held from February 2–6 is a doorway into the sensuous world of lustrous weave and texture awash with iridescent hues.

Step in and revel in the rustle of stately Kanjeevarams, the exquisite beauty of Jamavars, the crispness of Tussar and a host of other varieties such as Balucheri, Jamdhani and Paithani.

“Sponsored by the Development Commissioner (Handlooms), Ministry of Textiles in association with Weavers’ Service Centre (WCS), Tantavi was conceived with two objectives”, explains B.B. Paul, zonal director, WCS, Chennai. “One, to revive traditional designs, and two, to facilitate interface between weavers and buyers in two sectors – domestic and export. Thus, the weavers will directly meet representatives of leading textile retail houses.”

Earlier held in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Bangalore, Tantavi has attracted an excellent response from the public. The designs have been specially created by in-house design teams of 21 participating WSC throughout India, featuring 126 designs. Five palettes have been chosen with specific colour schemes – Ceremonial (vermilion, yellow, orange, turquoise and emerald), Pacific (cool blues, greens, cream and pastels), Botanic (green and brown shades), Native (earth tones) and Sophistic (glowing neon shades). The southern team comprising D. Ravi, K. Ramachandran, C. Rajasekharan and R. Loganathan (Chennai), K.G.Narendra Babu (Kancheepuram) and B. Pugazhendi (Bangalore) has done the craft proud with glorious creations, their ideas translated into rippling form by skilled weavers belonging to cooperatives.

“Since affordability is a key factor, I have incorporated a bold yellow kasu border and veldari body, all in threadwork, no zari, keeping costs down,” says designer Rajasekaran, unfolding a sari in earth tones with touches of green. Master weaver L. Sundararajan observes, “Technology has introduced some welcome changes. Using the single shuttle method, I can weave a sari in just five days. Earlier, with the two and three shuttle method, it would take 10 days and more labour. However, the old ways and weaves are slowly dying. Greater initiative and funding to revive them would benefit the community and kindle interest in the younger generation to take up weaving as a full-time profession.”

Different textures

“Silk varieties come from different species of silk worm. The four types on display are Mulberry, Tussar, Muga and Eri. Mulberry (Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Karnataka, Bengal, Orissa) has extra softness and sheen, while Tussar (U.P, Jharkhand, Bengal and A.P) has a coarse matte finish. Sourced and woven exclusively in the North Eastern States, Muga is India’s pride. Its unique appeal lies in its golden hue which actually acquires added sheen with each wash. Eri is Ahimsa silk, spun from cocoons after the silkworm larvae have emerged.

“The USP of the Kanjeevarams is the use of first grade silk, real zari and azo-free, eco friendly dyes. Silk cotton and mercerised cotton fabrics are also featured.”

The sheer range and quality of craftsmanship dazzle. Trapping sunshine in its folds, a gossamer silk kota doria blazes incandescent yellow. A vivid scarlet Ilkal sari employs its signature set of extra threads for the pallu which turns heavier than the body, adding to the dynamics of the drape.

While the exhibition tempts with fabulous yardage (home furnishing and dress material), scarves, stoles, and saris, it also provides an insight into technical aspects such as the use of degummed and un-degummed yarn, dupian and kora, spun, woven and filature silk. Short films will be screened to offer information on traditional weaving techniques.

Tantavi is on from February 2–6 at the Lalit Kala Academy, 4/170 Greams Road.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 7:43:07 AM |

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