Handloom dreams

Elana Dickson is a weaver and textile designer Photo: M. Subash  

“Give me 10 minutes and I will give you all the time,” a cheerful Elana Dickson tells us before rushing off to click photographs of an ‘Oggu Katha' performance at a gongadi exhibition organised at Malkha shop. A weaver and textile designer who specialised in Indian hand weaving, Elana is in the city for the three-day exhibition of gongadis. She has been working in India for the 20 years in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Assam. She was associated with the team of Anthra in the revival of gongadis. Later, when she converses with us for an interview, she recalls with a laugh her fixation for shoes and clothes when she was young. “My father was a graphic designer and my mother was a teacher. I grew up in Israel in an aesthetic-minded atmosphere. Getting the right shoes and clothes was terribly important.”

When she was in New York for her job, she met the famous designer Jack Lenor Larsen. “He thought that that the company needed an in-house designer and that's how I came to India,” she says.

Her friend Sally introduced her to a whole new world of textiles.

Working with the weavers from different places was an overwhelming experience. “India is huge,” she smiles as recollects her visits to Assam and Madhya Pradesh and discovering the handloom weaves. “I always tell, ‘Do not try to change the weavers here. Work with them, see what they do and understand their work,” she says.

She loves the hand-weaving technique. “Hand-weaving is the most beautiful thing in the world. It is quite elegant,” she says.

Her tryst with gongadis was due to a friend in Bangalore, who told her about a black fabric with a white line. “When I heard about it, I didn't know that it was called a gongadi,” she says. Elana is also a visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art in London.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 3:52:34 PM |

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