Fashion

Ten weavers, many handlooms

Shop for textiles curated from craftsfolk all over the country at a special pop-up

There’s something about the way crisp light winds itself around the rawness of handmade textiles. It shines through the delicate drapes of leheriyas, the solid patterns of ajrak, and the intricate weaves of the patola, seamlessly. At an ongoing pop-up event at Parvati Villa, Colaba, textile aficionados can browse through a curated range of these fabrics, presented by 10 weavers and craftsmen across India. The series, titled ‘Heritage Spring Edit’, is the first curation in a potential three-month exhibition cycle that aims to feature handlooms from different states across the country.

Patola is in

“We’ve ensured that we pick a selected group of artisans to avoid the reality of retail fatigue, that’s usually caused by infinite options,” shares the organiser, Neomy Khatau. By introducing one craftsman per craft, Khatau is keen on avoiding unnecessary competition between the artisans, and encourages a variety of weavers scattered across Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, and Kerala. “We also want to cater to the changing fashion trends. For example, two years ago, Banarasi was the go-to style option, but now, it’s all about the patola,” she continues.

The Salvi family, from the Patan region in Northern Gujarat, are specialists in the double ikat-patola weave, that will be on display at the exhibition. Legend has it, that the original patola weavers resided in Jalna, Maharashtra. But sometime in 12th century AD, 700 families were invited to Patan by King Kumarpal of the Solanki dynasty, who encouraged them to settle there. The specialty of the art form lies in the secrecy of its technique, only known by a particular clan of weavers.

Modern touch

Anka, from South India, introduces a contemporary twist of the classic cream and gold weaves of the Kasavu style. The weaving communities of Balaramapuram, Trivandrum, are now using shades of blue, green, and yellow, which has expanded their colour palette. Khatau explains that the uniqueness of the Kasavu weave lies in the fact that the fabric can be draped on both sides.

Continuing the trend of experimenting with traditional art forms, is Mohammed Tayeb Khan’s leheriya technique. The Padma Shri awardee’s style involves dipping chiffon into multiple coloured dyes, and then layering it with the tye and dye technique. Khan’s quintessential style pairs bright hues against soft pastels, and his mukaish chiffon sarees, bandhanis, turbans, vibrant duppattas, and scarves have catered to Rajasthani royalty since years.

For visitors looking for handcrafted silk and cotton sarees with traditional motifs, Bunkar will be showcasing a collection of works by the Baavanbuti weavers from Bihar. There’s an evident Buddhist influence in the motifs, which are first traced on to graph paper, before being weaved into the fabric itself. The sarees were integral family heirlooms in the 1960s, but with the lack of government patronage, it was difficult to sustain the expensive craft. “We’re living in a time where family heirlooms barely exist in the form of clothes, but with the right exposure, we hope to revive that,” says Khatau.

Heritage Spring Edit at at Parvati Villa, Colaba; 10.30 a.m. –6.30 p.m.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 8:21:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/ten-weavers-many-handlooms/article30922792.ece

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