History & Culture

Jamdani that is out of the box

The Textile Show by CCI presents contemporary versions of traditional craft

“Our craft has to grow and adapt. It has to be a living tradition and not just be preserved as our heritage. Which is why innovation and thinking out of the box help,” says Sarita Ganeriwala, founder of Karomi, an organisation that works with the women weavers of West Bengal, focussing on the myriad possibilities of Jamdani technique.

Jamdani that is out of the box

“Karomi works with urban and rural artisans and ours is weaver-centric organisation. The focus is keeping the craft alive. For me, the product comes ahead of the story of the weaver. We develop high quality products with high functionality,” she says.

Karomi products are not just ethnic, but have a contemporary feel,” Sarita points out, adding that her art background has enhanced her design interpretations. A textile design graduate from NIFT Delhi, Sarita was joined by Sarika Ginodia, a chartered accountant, to provide a sustainable business leadership to the firm.

Jamdani that is out of the box

Disha, founded by Amrita Chaudhary, works with 400 women artisans of the Shekhawati region in Rajasthan and engages them in tie-and-dye. It has made the women self-reliant by forming a self-help group. The stories of Karomi and Disha are woven by the skilled weavers from economically marginalised regions of Shekhawat and West Bengal. All the three women who have spearheaded this revolution will participate with their creations at the Textile Show organised by Crafts Council of India (CCI), in the city.

Disha provides a dignified livelihood for vulnerable women. Its activities include assistance in creating SHGs, skills training, promoting children’s education and very importantly, conducting awareness workshops on women’s social and legal rights. The 400-member SHG founded by Disha is trained in tie-and-dye and the Japanese craft of shibori to create saris, dupattas, stoles and running fabric in chanderi, tussar, and mulberry silk.

Jamdani that is out of the box

“Our design mission is to bring together the classic and the contemporary. We handover out complete designs to our weavers and they are also involved in the design development process from the beginning. At times, design intervention takes place at the loom level,” says Sarita.

Karomi has developed a special range of khadi and khadi blends for the Chennai exhibition. “We have brought products in plain khadi, khadi-linen, among others, all with the jamdani style of weaving. This collection is most suitable for Chennai’s weather,” says Sarita. Karomi received the UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts — Jamdani stoles in 2012 and again in 2014.

At the exhibition, Disha will showcase shibori saris, stoles, and dupattas. These artisans also use fine bandhini work on chanderi and silk saris. The Karomi design story is all about natural fabrics and linen woven in the jamdani style, inspired by colour blocking and geometrics, all woven by women weavers in remote villages of West Bengal.

The Crafts Council of India (CCI) is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit NGO working for the sustainable growth and development of India’s crafts and it’s craft artisans.

The Textile Show is at CCI’s Kamala Crafts Shop, Egmore, September 6 to 8, 10.30 am to 7 pm. For details, call 28191457.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 11:46:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/karomi-and-disha-works-with-rural-and-urban-weavers/article24871970.ece

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