Every weaver weaves a magical story through their threads of cotton, wool, silk or other fibres in his/her loom. The fibres are spooled to make yarn or thread which are woven together to make a beautiful fabric. The art of weaving finds its place since Harappa civilization and have their mention in Vedic culture of India too. With such a long history, weaving is still one of the biggest occupations in India and this goes to show the weaving traditions have been carefully preserved for thousands of years.
What is weaving?
Technically weaving is the process of the intertwining of two independent threads of yarn at right angles, with one placed vertical (warp - called பாவு in Tamil), and another placed horizontal (weft - called the ஊடு நூல் in Tamil). The warp is attached to a loom (தறி) and the inserted weft crosses the warp through the movement of the shafts that the weaver's controls, to make the fabric.
India’s weaving culture:
India’s precious heritage includes weaving clothes, saris, rugs, shawls with intricate designs, colours and finest quality. Indian weavers blend myths, faiths, symbols, creativity in their weaves and spin out magnificent outputs from their looms. Witnessing a weaver use their well-coordinated hands, legs and the intricate patterns on their mind, the fabric they create is simply incredible!
Every region in India is famous for its fabric, loom and unique traditions of weaving. We have about 120 distinct weaves. No other country in the world can claim to have as many weaves, dyeing techniques as India has. The different types of weaves include Plain weave, rib weave, Basketweave, twill weave, satin weave, crepe weave, striped weave, tapestry weave to quote a few.
Starting from Jammu and Kashmir’s delicate hand embroided Pashima shawls, Bihar’s Tussar silk (is a non mulberry silk variety and handwoven cotton Mulmuls), Gujarat’s (vibrant colour, geometrically intricate pattern interspersed with folk motifs) Patola prints, Andhra Pradesh’s Pochampalli, gadwa, Dharmavaram, Venkatagiri cotton and silk sarees, Karnataka’s famous Mysore silk, Madhya Pradesh’s chanderi silk, the kosa silk of Maharashtra, Chettinad, Coimbatore cotton, Kanchipuram silks of Tamil Nadu, Lucknow work of UP, Baluchari, Kantha works of West Bengal, the weaves of India are rich, flamboyant and highly attractive. An average Indian women closet brims with pride on the different weaves and fabric that have carefully been crafted for her.
“When human ingenuity is involved whether food is cooked or cloth is woven, it has a different quality. It is not just about your emotions. There is a different quality to what human beings have touched with a certain level of care, concern or focus” –Sadhguru.
Current State of Weaves & How to protect the handmade weaves?
In Recent years Power looms have largely replaced handlooms. With middlemen gobbling profits, the supply of machine-made goods on the rise, this industry does have its share of setbacks. It is time to revive back the traditions and ensure the families pass on the unique system of weaving to their next generations to retain, develop the skills of weaving.
- In today’s context, contemporary designs are fused with traditional weaves to create a new look, keep up with the market pace, taste and fashion elements.
- Fashion designers must further be encouraged to experiment with handmade weaves
- Weavers must be offered good pricing, the ambience of growth to help rejuvenate their livelihoods.
- People must also be made aware that natural fibre is not only good for our ecosystem but is best suited for our bodies themselves
Encouraging our weavers, supporting their future and the next generation will be a fitting tribute to this fine art and their thread of hope to thrive!!