Soma’s Muga

Muga and Thebvo heirloom made for Soma

This sari is a heirloom that brings together three major natural textiles-Muga, Eri and Thebvo. This is a customised Mora, designed as a result of creative coaxing from Soma’s husband Subhojit Bose. He gave a simple brief, “I want a pure Muga for Soma, I trust you with the creatives.” It took me a couple of years to work around making this Sari for Soma that could be a true homage to Subhojit’s affection for Soma, as well as his keen interest in everything handmade.

So, here is Soma’s Muga, Mora’s first customised heirloom from a man of love to his love.

Muga is the rarest known wild silk in the world that is intrinsic to Assam. The silkworms that are named after their ancient history with Assam, unfold magic of nature when upon maturity, they begin to offer their delicate short-filament golden-yellow silk to the world. Muga is a fine filament based yarn that involves intensive reeling technique to turn fibres into yarn. The base textile of this sari is Muga silk woven in a unique loose weaving style lending it a light and translucent texture.

Indigenous Thebvo of Kuzhami community of Nagaland, since centuries, has been a coarse rugged textile that was innovated to a fine avatar at Thebvo Project. I have introduced fine Thebvo as the main highlight in the pallu of the sari. Making of Thebvo involves about 17 key steps from foraging the plant from the jungle, hand-stripping, twisting without carding and retting, spinning through spindle top, cooking the fibre and finally weaving on back strap loom. Kuzhami/ Kheza community of Chakhesang tribe has carried forward their rich ancestry since a time period that cannot even be defined in their oral stories.

I chose Thebvo with Muga because of their complementing natural gold tonality of colours.

Eri silk is made by rearing eri silk in non-commercial, home rearing set up. It is then handspun using only drop spindle, and no charkha. Charkha is too fast for this gentle yarn’s hand spinning process. Once a fine count of yarn is spun out, it is woven on traditional throw shuttle loom of Assam. Eri used in the front border is naturally dyed using lac and myrobalan. The eri used for reverse finishing is natural ivory with deep tones of turmeric.

Carrying the legacy of these indigenous textiles, the sari delicately holds the substance of the past to walk as hope into the coming future.

An ode to a loving couple and a beautiful family who will carry this heirloom into their family name.

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 indigenous technique of making stinging nettle textile of Nagaland, combined with Muga and Eri silk of Assam. Patching together delicate net weave of Muga with dense backstrap loom weaving of Thebvo while retaining different density, textures, weight of these textiles has been a challenging feat. I wanted to not highlight one but all three textiles in their individual role in this sari. This brought me in closer collaboration with my mother, Madhu, our stitching technical head, and Gurmel Singh, our only tailor.
Moderate with more heft on Pallu.
Weather/ Mood
Pleasant-not warm not cold.
If handled with gentleness, all three yarns are treated as long-lasting- “lifelong” in their words, making it a generational heirloom. Texture will grow with time. The shades of natural dye will go through natural alterations as anything made with nature should.
Dry clean recommended. Seasonal “Airing” in shadow, not direct sun. One may want to handle the delicate nature of muga weaves with gentleness. If any filaments of Muga are pulled accidentally, one must cut it gently with scissor rather than putting across the whole length. Hang storage, nor recommended. Store flat in mulmul or mora cotton bags. Change folds every few months.
Sari is ready to wear. All saris come with blouse fabric(s). No fall/ beading required. The blouse used in photoshoot is for representation only and may not be the same blouse available with the sari. The blouse fabric given with the sari will be more in alignment with the aesthetics intended.
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 of Thebvo will grow gentle with time.
Elegant, Festive without being loud, graceful. Gold heirloom.
Made in rural household. Weaves made by artisan at home in available time- supporting farming lifestyle.
Reverse pyramid model- Fair benefit to all makers and facilitators.
In support of slow movement. No deadline/ pressure based work environment made with need-greed, human-nature balance.
In support of indigenous knowledge of Nagaland and Assam.
No bargaining with artisans. Mutual decision-making.
Made with intentional non-injury. Slow production- slow movement product.
Has gone through no chemical processing.
Has gone through no machinery or mechanised processing units
Made less, made ethically.
In solidarity with backstrap loom weaving
Supports non- industrial tailoring skills.
Well-being Properties
Thermal insulation, Moisture absorption, UV protective, completely bio-degradable, Climate conscious
Thebvo aspect is a product of Thebvo project, Nagaland.
The weaving has been done by Pfuchkha-ü Wetsah.
Eri silk is made under the supervision of Narmohan Das.
Stitching by Gurmel Singh, Jalalabad, Punjab.
Beadwork of tulsi beads done by Param, Bathinda, 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