Arunachal’s Tai Khampti Phuta
with Assam’s Eri silk
Let your life lightly dance on the edges of
Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.”
― Rabindranath Tagore
The sari draws inspiration from the gentleness of the moment described by Tagore. It is hand spun by adept spinner of Assam without using Charkha. The journey from cocoons to hand- spun yarn involves a spinner performing series of steps for the appropriate treatment of cocoons that can enable hand spinning of yarn. These steps have remained unchanged through generations of hand-spinning culture of Assam. We have retained the indigenous steps without much alteration.
Hand-spun yarn is then natural dyed using natural sources like Myrobalan or Hilika fruit, Indigo leaves and Turmeric from hills of Meghalaya. Hank- dyeing of yarn is a labour intensive job as compared to dyeing a fabric. This sari has been woven using hank dyed yarn, that was taken in my backpack from riverbed of Assam to eastern Himalayan foothills of Arunachal Pradesh. Tai Khampti tribe took up the challenge of weaving this delicate uneven yarn on their traditional loom. They wove their geometry into sari as a tribute to two different cultures coming together in all their gentleness.
To me, this coming together is like dew on the tip of a leaf.
Natural Dyeing involves a series of high precision and complex steps to bring out the adequate conditions for textiles to absorb and retain dye. Eri Silk being a protein fibre absorbs most natural dyes. For this, the fabric or fibre is first pre-treated with scouring (removal of any oil, dust that could alter or hamper dyeing results) and then mordanting (to create adequate base or acidic relationship between dye raw material and fibre or fabric). A dye vat is prepared by extracting dye from the raw material, through the process of boiling or fermentation depending upon the nature of dye source. The pre-treated fabric/ fibre is then soaked, boiled (hot bath) or dipped (cold bath) in the dye vat for an adequate period of time to achieve the desired shade of colour. Repeated dips in the vat give deeper shades of dye.
With non-injury as our core totem, we are resolved to give colour to this fabric using those natural sources that are procured locally, leaving least violent footprints on life and nature. The dye raw material is natural i.e. plant and resin based, instantly compostable, non-industrial and non- toxic.