Gaurang Shah: Jazzing up the Jamdani

Traditional touch: Tabu with Gaurang Shah at the event  

“I see a Jamdani sari as a nine-yard canvas. There is no limit to the design ideas I can visualise and execute on this weave,” gushes Gaurang Shah as he comes out of a multimedia presentation, “Interlace: Discover the soul of Jamdani”, at New Delhi’s Bikaner House where he gave his patrons a peep into the intricacies of this iconic weave. “We have master weavers, over 70% of whom are women, who can weave any pattern, no matter how complex and yet, like true artists, they keep pushing their craft,” says Shah.

The Hyderabad-based designer draws inspiration from temple art, architecture, geometry and mythology and counts Tabu, Vidya Balan and Kirron Kher among his celebrity clients. “It is the inventive interpretation in fabrics, texture and colour that has led to rise in popularity of Jamdani saris and salwar kameez. Our innovation in collections such as Ardhangini, Muslin and Neel have given a new face to Indian handlooms,” he states.

Gaurang Shah

Gaurang Shah  

Excerpts from an interview:

On his love for Jamdani weaves

I feel it is the most versatile weaving technique. It breathes innovation and allows me to break creative boundaries.I feel its full potential has not been used. The ancient mastery was intricate, but it got lost over generations. It became boring and needed change to bring contemporary appeal – both in approach and weaving possibilities.

So, I helped weavers to redesign the looms and introduced new designs.

On the kind of experimentation one can do

Jamdani lets me weave any pattern, interlace colour, textures and yarns. I love the spirit surrounding the art and its masters. The possibilities are unlimited. We have introduced many inventive fabric fusions, motfis, colour and textures. Jamdani gives me no limitations.

Improving the artisanal diversity was critical for sustenance. It helped me translate the vision of my varied designs to reality and this acted as a catalyst to widen the market for products as well as generate more work for weavers. Since then, variations have become profitable both for me and for weavers.

On the kind of challenges that he faced

When I began my journey as a textile designer in the 1990s, I could not find the craftsmen to weave my creations which were unusual Jamdani designs unfamiliar to virtually every weaver I met. I found it very difficult to make weavers adapt to change especially the loom setting to create what I envisioned.

The biggest challenge today is to hold weavers’ interest and maintaining their economic sustainability. Another factor that needs constant attention is to raise awareness about the product among consumers.

What gladdens my heart is that people who admire weaving work understand the amount of pain that weavers go through while developing each piece.

As a designer, my effort is to sustain the growth curve and urge women to wear saris. Therefore, the hard task is to introduce newer approach to Jamdani weaving skills and raise its awareness about its economic fruits among the next generation for the benefit of Indian weaving families.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 8:15:02 AM |

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