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Hastavem - Weaving Happiness Everyday

UNIQUELY DESIGNED AND MADE FROM
INDIGENOUS AND TRADITIONAL WEAVER MASTERS

Tantuvana - The weaver’s paradise

Sarees, the ultimate drape of a woman to define the ingenuine femininity - that’s true wherever the Indian may be, saree will remain the drape of every occasion. Why just speaking of Indians, anyone outside our ethnicity has clearly taken up our draping style at many events and carried a saree like a pro, for example, Oprah Winfrey on her visit to India, Serena Williams while she came for a game at Bangalore, Pamela Anderson in white saree adoring the Indian Reality TV Show Bigg Boss 4 or Julia Roberts in the movie East, Pray and Love.

I remember a quote from Sarojini Naidu’s, The Indian Weavers, “WEAVERS, weaving at the break of day, / Why do you weave a garment so gay?” The poem exceptionally portrays the three different stages of human life and connects them with the weavers who weave the thread for generations. Weavers of India who have been weaving authentic silk mark sarees, pure cotton sarees in their handlooms since ages contribute a lot to our country’s GDP. 

Weaving is a tradition in India that dates back to 5000 years ago. And have developed keen mastery in the craft. The pure cotton, silk, khadi, and linen are put on the spinners to bring out dynamism in the form of baric.

Essential fabrics spun in the handlooms of India are cotton, silk, khadi, etc. Cotton is woven in most parts of the Indian subcontinent such as Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka and other parts of the country. The total production of cotton accounts for 36.5 million bales of 170 kgs.

Whereas Silk is a natural fabric. Four types of silk such as muga, mulberry, tussar, eri, etc are available. ‘Paat’ in Eastern parts, ‘Pattu’ in Southern parts and ‘Resham’ in northern parts, known differently in different parts of the world, have a shimmer based appearance. The total production of silk accounts for 35,261 (in metric tons).

Khadi is associated with the weaving industry of India since its independence and its struggle. The image of Mahatma Gandhi who initiated the use of Khadi mostly handspun and made from cotton fiber, silk, and wool. It is rugged in structure, comfortable, and has the property to keep cool in summers and warm in winters. Total production for khadi accounts for 105.38 million square meters. 

Weaving Industry in India: A Bird-Eye View

Weaving a different kind of fabric in the various handlooms of India requires the large involvement of people and since it is arduous in nature and requires proper training. The cheap source of labor is available in rural parts of India, so bigger looms with modern or traditional equipment are deep-seated in various villages of India.

The weaving industry thus sustains the life of many families in small and large towns. They pass on their skills to their future generations to keep alive their artistic work. Men, women, children, and old age people are equal partners in their work. No defined age group is assigned for the work, rather everyone initiates towards the progress of it. 

Weavers today work on different types of looms suitable to weave different types of fabrics. So what is a loom? - The loom is a mechanical and principle device used in weaving, which interweaves yarns to the fabric which then becomes usable. Majorly, three types of looms are used:

1. Conventional Loom
2. Automatic Loom
3. Special Loom which includes
4. Shuttle loom
5. Shuttleless loom  

THE Weaving Process We Preserve in India

The weavers of India though have tremendous work opportunities and skills, still suffer in their daily life. Many organizations and designers are taking their turn to revive the skills, even we at IndyVogue give our full extended support to our weavers in Bengal, Orissa, Varanasi, and Karnataka, but we will like to share the skill of our excellent weavers along with the processes they follow. Take a tour of this industry through our recorded behind the scenes story from the looms.

Making Designs

Designing forms the most important while you are weaving a saree. For the Indian handloom industry which keeps on weaving pure silk and cotton sarees and for the design they translate the design to the large graph paper. The process is termed as “likhai” and a “nakshi or nakshaband” does that. The naksha or nakshi act as a blueprint to get hand punched on the cardboard stencils called the “pattas”. Higher the number of grids it results in intricacy and level of weaving complexity.

These pattas are chain-like structures and attached to the jacquard looms and collectively help to weave a motif and translate it into a pattern. Thousands of graphing cards are required to weave a banarasi saree, more the pattas, more complex is the structure of the pattern. 

Materials Used

The procurement of raw materials such as silk and cotton and verifying their usability is the next step. The process starts with the selection of the yarn. If you have cohen raw silk to spun, then it will be treated for brocades and requires patience and labor. The cost of raw materials depends on the type of yard and zari chosen.

Process Reeling

There are times when the warp and weft are woven without the graphing cards, as the weavers make sure they hand paint on the drape or weave by hand especially those Kantha Stitch sarees or the hand batik or the block prints or the floral hand printed sarees. Even the modern boutiques today propels the weavers to try out weaving mixed silks to hand paint beautiful images with natural colors or fabric colors to make it more magnificent.

Dyeing

Dyeing the yarn in a particular color involves the immersing of the reel of yarn in the tank of dyeing colors.

Weaving the Drape

The most complicated part is weaving. The warp or the longitudinal threads are held in tension on the loom and lifted up. The latitudinal threads or bana are placed in shuttle. As the shuttle moves back and forth the warp and weft threads are interwoven.

Meena Matching

Balancing and choosing the colors or Meena-matching as we call it is an integral part of our weaving process. Once you have designed a pattern, graphed with a certain number of colors in mind, and set up on the loom, individual colors are carefully chosen for every element. Then a swatch is then woven to assess the selections.

Hand Painting and Hand Weaving

There are times when the warp and weft are woven without the graphing cards, as the weavers make sure they hand paint on the drape or weave by hand especially those Kantha Stitch sarees or the hand batik or the block prints or the floral hand printed sarees. Even the modern boutiques today propels the weavers to try out weaving mixed silks to hand paint beautiful images with natural colors or fabric colors to make it more magnificent.

Finishing School

Depending on the weaving technique you have chosen, the silk and cotton sarees need to go through the final process of cutting. This also involves manual cutting of the tiny threads left on the reverse side of the fabric. The sarees are then folded and packaged.

Building a Close Community for our artisans

Please help our artisans grow every day and contribute to their development. We make every little effort to give a share of our earnings to these households in rural India so that they keep on sustaining and growing the industry with colorful drapes.

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