Thebvo (Kuzhami stinging nettle),
Himalayan Hemp and Eri silk Shawl
Stinging nettle and Hemp have been archaeologically discovered to be Neolithic textiles of humans. Both are plant fibre based textiles extracted from the stem of the plants. Cannabis plant is used for making textiles that we call Hemp; and varieties of Nettles and stinging nettles for making textiles that we refer to in various local dialects as Thebvo or Allo etc. Very early on, in the history of humankind, these textiles established themselves in the lifestyle for diverse usability, sturdiness, longevity and access to raw material. Both plant fibres are naturally and abundantly growing weed.

The more they are harvested appropriately, the more they abound nature with their abundance. Twisting them into ropes and twines was the first usage of these textiles by evolving humans. With the evolution to weaving as their tool, these were without doubt, some of the earliest textiles humans spun into yarn using drop-weight spindle and then weaving on back strap looms.

In this shawl, I have brought together both Thebvo, Himalayan traditional Hemp with Eri Silk of Assam. I wanted to also highlight the journey of human from foraged plant fibres to beginning of home rearing of silkworms, sheep. For this, the subtle non-glossy nature of Eri silk felt most suitable. The silkworms are reared at home with intentional non-injury. This tradition too has passed the test of time, even though commercially produced silks from sericulture units flood the market.

The seekers will find the home-bred and jungle foraged.

These textiles have survived thousands of years of human evolution. Lack of “development” was the key reason to protect these communities from becoming standardised and keeping the context of these early textiles still in use. In the last couple of decades, this ancient context is shifting to modern, leading to new choices that are unable to sustain the labour intensive process that is required for making these textiles unless they are appropriately monetised. In modern society, the price one pays for keeping the old traditions alive is a construct of this very modern society, called Money. Without encouraging monetary benefits, the communities are slowly letting go off their ancient legacy.

A fear in my heart sprouts, and with that, a wish and a motivation.

These textiles are like roots of our ancient past. If we keep them, we may feel more grounding. Letting them go, may make us feel loss of our connect to our past, to our growth, to our evolution, to our common ancestry.

This is my attempt of settling my own heart by connecting to the ancient roots of Neolithic textiles. And perhaps bridge the growing divide.
For voice of Thebvo makers and community please see blog. The proceeds from this textile are intended towards Thebvo project "artisans at ease".

Buyer Empowerments

Wearable textile made with ancient spinning, weaving and dyeing techniques, that are slowly being abandoned in modern context. Hope of rejuvenation that a textile that has lasted the test of thousand of years, can still enthral the makers and wearer’s senses.
One of a kind wearable heirloom that collages subtle softness of Eri silk with two Neolithic textiles Thebvo and Hemp in their natural shade.
Weather/ Mood
Pleasant-not warm not cold. More fit for cool to cold days.
Sturdy, long-lasting- “lifelong” in their words, making it a generational heirloom. Texture will grow with time.
Okay to hand-wash. No dry clean needed. “Made to not be fragile”. Care-free. Seasonal “Airing” in shadow, not direct sun.
Ready to wear
100% natural, organic, hand-made, from nature-back to nature. Something to grow old with and then pass it on to loved ones. The ruggedness will grow gentle with time.
Made in rural household. Weaves made by artisan at home in available time- supporting farming lifestyle. Direct connect with artisan. Reverse pyramid model- Fair benefit to all makers and facilitators. No bargaining with artisans. Mutual decision-making. No deadline/ pressure based work environment made with need-greed, human-nature balance.Made with intentional non-injury. Slow production- slow movement product. Made less, made ethically. Has gone through no chemical processing. Has gone through no machinery or mechanised processing units
Elegant, Subtle, Natural-appearance, Grounding
Well-being Properties
Thermal insulation, Moisture absorption, UV protective, completely bio-degradable, Climate conscious
This Thebvo is made by Indigenous Kuzhami community with assistance of Thebvo project est 2014, Nagaland.
Himalayan Hemp is made traditionally by artisans of Baglung, Nepal.
Eri silk is made under the supervision of Narmohan Das, with creative guidelines from Mora.
Stitching by Gurmel Singh, Jalalabad, Punjab.
Imperfections in the weaves reflect handmade
Irregularity in the dyes reflect natural process
Innocent spots in the textiles reflect being homemade
A work of nature cannot be sterile and error-free
A choice to still buy what we make is a step
Towards supporting original culture
Of people
Of nature
Of craft

A celebration of humanness.
Mora Collective 2024
designed by: MIDTOAN