Crafts

Silk exclusive

Sundararajan's richly woven silk sari with zari work that won the award at the exhibition.  

Master weaver and National awardee V. Sundararajan literally weaves his dreams in the language of the traditional Kanchipuram ‘pattu' korvai sari. He combines in each five metres of heritage, a harmony of colours, richly woven texture and motifs found on the walls, columns and beams of the Pallava temples. His award winning sari, an amalgam of technique, aesthetics and innovation is a symphony of ‘arakku' and gold with intricate geometric patterning on the pallu, a file of delicate flowers and curling vine on the body set off by a broad classic zari border. It took the master weaver six months to create this piece fit for a bride. He has created another six outstanding variations of this piece for the Classic Saris Exhibition now on at the Central Cottage Industries Emporium.

“I was born to the music of the loom,” says Sundararajan who comes from a paramparik family of weavers. “I learnt the craft from my father and by observation. As I honed my skills, I began to innovate by weaving non-contrast ‘pattu' saris in 1992. My wife Krishna Kumari is a weaver, designer and state awardee. And we work together from conceiving the theme to finishing the sari.”

His inspiration

“I draw my inspiration both from old traditional ‘korvai' saris which are much sought after now and lasso from the sculpted motifs on the temple walls, columns etc. “We just need to revive these motifs, and perhaps innovate with the format.” His other innovations include running the yarn on the reverse, so that the sari looks almost reversible, the use of vegetable dyes, etc. His zari is 90 per cent pure and its lustre caught even President Abdul Kalam's eyes!

Is the hoary Kanchipuram ‘korvai' sari languishing? According to Sundararajan the distinctive Kanchi cotton sari is nearly extinct and the number of ‘pattu' weavers too is diminishing in the area. The spread of education among the younger generation and other job opportunities take the young away from their hereditary vocation. Sundararajan has his looms in his premises with nearly 50 weaver families working with him. “Unless the whole family is involved in a cottage industry it becomes unviable”. His son and daughter help in the area of value addition to his saris with embroidery etc.

Master weaver V. Sundararajan's specially created saris are on view at CCIE's Special Classic Saris Exhibition. Also part of the sari celebration is a wealth of specially created dhakkais, maheshwaris, chanderis, chikankaris, tussars, gadhwals, tie and dye, kantha and ajrakh saris. Many have been sourced from cluster groups. Each sari is a one-off piece with a superb mingling of patterns, concept, motif and embellishment. Some are masterpieces in their own right.

The exhibition is on view at The Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Temple Towers, Anna Salai, Nandanam, till June 11.


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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 8:59:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/arts/crafts/silk-exclusive/article2070923.ece

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