Reworked from Sari of 2012 to shawl of 2021
Indigenous Konyak weaves | Eri Silk

A firefly came to me after many years and asked me if a sari could be converted to shawl so she could wear it with more ease. I was told it could be a sari, or a shawl. So I took this request with allegiance to Mora’s Empowerment of Lifetime Loyalty as well as Empowerment of shared responsibility. It took me weeks of thinking of how to repaint the canvas already painted. However, when I dropped attachment with my own design, and thought deeper on the design brief that I was offered, I could just see the weaves, the base textiles and borders individually all over again. I followed the brief and rather than one or the other, converted the sari into another Sari and a Shawl. This project brought a lot of good stir in our workshop about the journey of mora as well the days now and then. 

The spark of joy was felt among our tailor and me. We remembered exact moments when this was stitched and who stitched it in how many days! These kind of details are mundane to share but very meaningful to experience.

This firefly put the first stamp on the successful execution of the two Empowerments of Mora community. And I am honoured to recreate, re purpose, recycle any of textiles made with Mora. 

How does this work out?

The fireflies understand the task executed, heart put in, minds brain stormed and technical breakthroughs, and then pay from their heart. Just as it is made from heart. 

Such tasks are invaluable and cannot be expressed as transaction. 

Here’s presenting Konyak weaves adapted from a Sari of 2012 collection into a shawl of 2021. 

About Konyak weaves

Konyak is an indigenous community of East Nagaland bordering Myanmar on the East, and Assam & Arunachal Pradesh on the North. Because of the interesting geographical placement, this community is found in Myanmar as well as Arunachal Pradesh. Their weaves are intricate representing the nature and their surroundings. I worked on these weaves of Konyak tribe till 2013 and could not continue after that as no weaves agreed to work with cotton or eri silk. 

About Eri Silk and Natural dyeing:

Eri Silk is a wild silk with a wooly fibrous filament hand spun into yarn, handwoven on traditional throw shuttle looms of Assam. It is elegant in drape, subtle in appearance and the texture of fabric does not carry obvious lustre that we typically associate with silk. Eri Silk being a protein fibre absorbs most natural dyes.

Natural Dyeing involves a series of high precision steps to bring out the adequate conditions for textiles to absorb and retain dye. With non-injury as our core totem, we have given 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. 

Buyer Empowerments

Eri silk aspect of shawl
Wearable textile made with ancient spinning, weaving and dyeing techniques. Home- reared, Hand spun, hand woven following indigenous methodology.
100 % natural, Protein- based, organic, hand-made, from nature-back to nature. Something to grow old with and then pass it on to loved ones.
Well-being properties
Thermal insulation, Moisture absorption, UV protective, completely bio-degradable.
Konyak weaves aspect of shawl
Indigenous textiles of Nagaland that involves traditional handloom weaving.
Mill spun mercerised cotton yarn with Azo-free dyeing
Combined aspects of the shawl
One of a kind heirloom textile that brings together Konyak tribe weaving motifs with Eri Silk.
Weather/ Mood
Pleasant-not warm not cold. Should give warmth on a slightly nippy evening. Should also protect from blazing Sun.
Not fragile. Eri Silk can last a decade or two if well looked after. Konyak weaves are made to “last a lifetime” in their words.
Dry Clean only; Needs “Airing” in shadow, not direct sun. Do not wring. Occasional starch with uplift the drape. Be careful to not pull the yarn of weaves if ever they get entangled.
Heirloom, statement, vibrant
Made in rural household. Weaves made by artisan at home in available time- supporting farming lifestyle.
In support of slow movement
In support of indigenous knowledge of Nagaland and Assam
No bargaining with artisans. Collaborative design and mutual decision-making.
No deadline/ pressure based work environment.
In support of natural dyeing through locally available resources
In solidarity with backstrap loom weaving
Supports non- industrial tailoring skills.
Faith in up-skilling unskilled artisans.
Konyak weaves made by Konyak weavers in Mon, Nagaland.
Eri silk handspun, hand woven with supervision from Narmohan Das.
Stitched by Gurmel Singh, Jalalabad, Punjab.
Tulsi beads 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