The Beauty Behind The Ever Present Handlooms

There she sat under the banyan after freshening up from a long day of toil to enjoy the evening breeze draped in a yellow saree with a red designed border weaved in one of the village looms. Her brawny silhouette looking elegant and her frame relaxed. In yet another scenario, a different place and time of day, a young group of girls are having a nice jolly time giggling and shopping with their eyes, stopping for a mouth-watering snack every now and then without a care, free of responsibilities on a warm day and yet so comfortable in their flowy cotton salwar suits. Somewhere in the boardroom where the speaker, a middle aged woman, wearing a silk shirt and cotton pant addresses a room of executives as she has them wrapped in complete attention. Out in the dabba is a youngster grabbing a quick bite for lunch looking smart in a fine indigo printed shirt and beige pants. Inside a pen cot is a little bundle of joy gurgling and squealing with utter glee at the rattle toy hanging over his head, freshly cleaned up and powdered, wearing a soft cotton checked blue and white cradle frock. The handloom fabrics of India can be found in almost any facet of life; it is an ingrained skill, a heritage of the Indian culture. The use of handloom fabrics is so wide that you will be amazed once you start paying attention to its presence.

Indian handlooms are known for their richness, elegance, variety and fine organic quality. Handloom fabrics are those fabrics that are weaved manually using looms. It is a common misconception that handlooms are only weaved using cotton, there are a variety of fibres used such as silk, wool, jute and other natural fibres. Some beautifully handwoven fabrics from different parts of India are the bomkai handloom, tussar silk, mangalagiri cotton, paithani brocade, maheshwari handloom, the patola weave and pochampally ikat. The Indian handlooms are very diverse and form an integral part to the Indian culture. Some occasions and festivals are not complete without the attire or products made from these fabrics special with their own unique meaningful significance. Such as for Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala and the home coming of a legendary emperor Mahabali. The celebration is not complete without the various attires worn by men, women and children using the off white weave with the gold thread borders.

Our passionate weavers blend myths, faiths and vivid imagination when giving life to every new work they produce. We should continue to support the weavers of our vibrant country and support their skills. It is only common for one to reconsider their livelihood at the event of crisis. When it comes to purchasing handloom products it can be difficult to distinguish between handloom and machine made fabrics. Our best bet is to purchase what you want directly from the weaver if possible or find a good seller whom you can trust. The procedure that goes into procuring an end product from the Indian handlooms can be reckoned to a distinct form of art, weave and use of colour by the artisan that gives every region its distinctive identity and uniqueness. This is a rich gift that is to be cherished and supported to keep its presence in our seemingly contemporary world that has its layers of tradition ingrained at a subconscious level even to the most ultra-modern soul out there.


Originally published at blog.desihands.com on August 1, 2016.

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