National Handloom Day: Revive the weave

August 7th is celebrated as the National Handloom Day and in the run up, we look at how brands are keeping up the dying art.
Narendra Modi’s council of ministers wore beautiful handloom sarees during the cabinet expansion ceremony in July and motivated the community.
Narendra Modi’s council of ministers wore beautiful handloom sarees during the cabinet expansion ceremony in July and motivated the community.
Updated on Aug 06, 2021 08:47 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

It was a sight to behold when women in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers wore beautiful handloom sarees during the cabinet expansion ceremony in July. The seven-yard wonder stood for elegance, unity, tradition and also power dressing. Brands that support the weavers’ community from across India applauded the move, saying it could go a long way in reviving the declining craft.

August 7th is celebrated as the National Handloom Day and in the run up, we look at how brands are keeping up the dying art. “Varanasi has been famous for its Banarasi silk sarees. The art of handloom is dying as machines have taken over hands, compelling artisan to resort to other vocations. Every weaver in Banaras is an artist and they need patrons to appreciate their art. We are trying to keep the heritage alive, providing handpicked assortments of hand-woven pure silk Banarasi sarees. If our cabinet ministers who are idealized by youngsters wear handwoven silk saree, it is definitely going to promote the art of Varanasi,” says Shruti Shah from Sacred Weaves.

The weavers in Banaras have also mastered zari work. The intricate weave, Persian motifs and gleaming gold embroidery is one example of the expertise weavers possess. “We worked on projects to revive the art. Uchin work is one such old technique similar to Paithani. While Paithanis are woven on thicker silk, Uchin saris are woven on thinner silk. We are developing saris with a modern touch, with the same technique used for shwetambari and neelambari. Almost 40 rolls of thread are used to weave one line of weft in these shwetambari inspired saris,” says Khushi Shah from Shanti Banaras.

Age-old crafts such as the Adai technique, Jaala and Petni are also being revived. “We are also working on ‘Ayyampet’ showcasing a lost craft of ikat mushru. Bopari pallu, another long lost art of double sided ajrakh printed pallu has been revived through a collection. In Udupi clusters of Karnataka where the weaving of coarse cotton sarees is almost extinct, we are helping veteran weavers of Udupi bring out the best of the sarees,” says Anindita Sardar, Design Head and Curation, Taneira.

Author tweets @ruchikagarg271

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ruchika Garg writes on Art and Culture, for the daily Entertainment & Lifestyle supplement, HT City

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