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Indian Handloom

  • Handloom refers to the traditional, non-mechanized way of weaving fabrics, dating back to the Indus valley civilization. The fabric is woven on wooden looms, using only human power and skill.

  • Handwoven fabric was exported from India till the time India was colonized, and the handloom industry was suppressed in favour of powerloom fabric. Post-independence, the fortunes of the weavers have ebbed and flowed with government policies, prices of yarn and competition from industrially produced fabric.

  • There has been a slow resurgence in the understanding of the beauty & comfort of handwoven fabrics. It is not just our heritage that we are rediscovering, but are also coming to understand what is lost in terms of aesthetic beauty and comfort when fabric is mass produced in factories.

  • When a weaver creates a fabric on a loom, on a good day he weaves a meter of fabric a day. Every inch of fabric passes under his expert eyes, and as he weaves he makes continuously adapts the design to the result emerging in from of him. It is truly a creation, a discovery of what will emerge from the yarn.

  • Artisans from Maheshwar (Maheshwari fabric) and Chanderi (Chanderi fabric) have a hallmark for creating sarees and fabrics in striking bright colours, with woven in patterns with multicolour yarns and extensive handwork. The fabric is mostly woven in a combination of Silk and Cotton (lengthwise threads in Silk-Warp, across threads in Cotton-Weft). This unique method of weaving gives the fabric the rich luster and graceful fall of Silk, while the cotton provides all season comfort, longevity and ease of washing and maintenance. All the cotton-silks fabrics require gentle hand wash, and do not require dry-cleaning. Chanderi artisans often create Sarees in pure silk as well, and Chanderi silk saress are known for their delicateness and extensive handwork motifs in Zari. Maheshwari designs and patterns are more expressive, and use an interplay of bright colours with the patterns woven in as many as 4 different colour yarns in a single fabric. Geometry and mathematics is an integral part of the creation of Maheshwari fabrics. Graceful use of Zari, Kosa silk, Mulberry and Khadi adds a touch of elegance and earthiness to these sarees.

  • We do not realize the environmental cost of creating fabric. One of the largest contributors to non-recyclable part of human waste is fabric, and fabrics take decades to decompose. End of life of fabrics is problem we are facing, but are not consciously aware of. Conscious consumption will require humans to be careful and selective in choosing what we wear. While we can financially afford to buy and replace clothes frequently, we need to exercise discretion in buying & discarding clothes, because it is one of the human wastes with high environmental impact. The alternative to use & discard fashions is to acquire fewer but timeless handweaves, wear it with pride, and discard it consciously.

  • Handloom fabric is ecofriendly. All the steps involved from spinning & dyeing the yarn, to weaving of the fabric is a human process and doesn’t leave any harmful byproducts in the environment.

  • What you wear speaks of who you are, how you feel and where you are headed. The beauty of handweaves is the assortment of yarns, colours and patterns that create an endless universe of expressions. Every saree tells a story, enhances a mood or brings back memories.

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