3-day exhibition of fabrics with natural dyes begins in Coimbatore  

August 26, 2022 07:06 pm | Updated August 27, 2022 08:28 am IST - COIMBATORE

Chaman Siju, a hand weaver from Bhujodi, Kutch, has displayed sarees dyed with natural dyes at Prakruti, an exhibition, in Coimbatore on Friday.

Chaman Siju, a hand weaver from Bhujodi, Kutch, has displayed sarees dyed with natural dyes at Prakruti, an exhibition, in Coimbatore on Friday. | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

The buzzword at “Prakruti” is sustainability for it is a congregation of designers and weavers who have revived desi cotton varieties, natural dyes, and hand weaving.

From Love for the Loom (Kolkata) to Handloom Design Centre (Kutch) and Gandhigram (Tamil Nadu) to Avani (Uttarakhand), the 30 participants at the exhibition at Padmavathi Ammal Cultural Centre here focus on use of natural dyes that are extracted from flowers, leaves, seeds, and fruits.

Paresh Patel, a weaver entrepreneur from Gujarat (Royal Brocades), has woven traditional motifs of Ashavali sarees in different blends of fabrics. He has used natural sources such as pomegrenate skin, marigold, and indigo to colour the fabrics.

Sonali Bhattacharya, founder of Love For the Loom, displays an eco printed fabric at Prakruti.

Sonali Bhattacharya, founder of Love For the Loom, displays an eco printed fabric at Prakruti. | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

Sonali Bhattacharya, who started Love for the Loom in 2012, explored eco-printing and used leaves from trees that were cut down by the local body in Kolkata to do leaf prints on fabrics. She uses indigenous cotton to make hand spun fabrics that are then dyed with natural dyes. Creative Bee from Hyderabad uses dyes from its 3.5 acres farm to make the traditional Sri Kalahasthi kalamkari fabrics, hand blocks of Machilipatnam, and even shibori and block prints, says its founder Bina Rao.

Chaman Siju from Kutch, who is from a family of weavers for several generations, has collections of different themes, such as desert and kutch festival. “I am inspired by collection of traditional designs that my great grand father and grand father had woven and I make them contemporary,” says the 44-year-old weaver. He has exhibited sarees, stoles, dupattas and traditional wear, all made of organic cotton and natural dyes.

Gandhigram has on display khadi, naturally dyed fabrics, sarees, dhotis and hand kerchieves and a couple of garment manufacaturers from Tiruppur have exhibited t-shirts and basic wear with natural dyes. Tula from Chennai works with growers of desi cotton in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Karnataka and uses coconut shells and sea shells for buttons and easily available natural sources for dyes.

Members of women self-help groups from Thoothukudi were trained by Creative Bee to weave baskets from water hyacinth. Their products are up on the shelves for sales at “Prakruti”.

Hema Khona, who has organised the three-day event (August 26 to 28) along with Rajini Krishnamurthy, says she was introduced to natural dyes 27 years ago through a workshop and the exhibition is an effort to bring together those who are reviving use of natural dyes. The exhibition includes two hour sessions on natural dyes and a demonstration of how to dye fabrics. The expo is open from 10 a.m. 8 p.m.

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