मासूम Tenderness

Weaves of Nagaland woven with cotton on back strap loom with patchwork
Spoken for

Sometimes, this broken heart gives birth to anxiety and panic, sometimes to anger, resentment and blame. But under the hardness of that armour there is a tenderness of genuine sadness. This is our link with all those who have ever love.

– pema chodron

To all of you, who have felt that sadness, I am tied with you in your tender warp and weft of that feeling.

Part 1 : About Patchwork:

I have been integrating more intentional geometry in creating patchworks that could speak different design language. I play around with the size of the squares and see what proportions of stripes will blend with the aesthetics. What colours next to each other make the squares pop, what makes them surrender. How to turn squares into rectangles and triangles to squares. To me, these compositions are like working with tiles.


Part 2: About back strap loom weaving:

My meeting with Chizami Weaves led me to Back strap loom weaving of Nagaland. I went with their team to a village called Enhulumi. I sat in the courtyard of the bamboo home where two wooden pillars were dug into the mud floor. A horizontal bamboo rod was placed between the two pillars and a bundle was wrapped and covered with a cloth around the rod. Roosters moved in and out of the house while toppling over few baskets full of yarn balls kept next to the pillars. A toddler girl kept looking at the strangeness of my face without a blink. She was leaning against one of those pillars.

Adule, the weaver, came out with cups of tea and sat on a moora parallel to the pillars. I took my first sip of tea made with milk powder and a lot of sugar. I barely took the swig down my throat, when the magic unfolded in from of my eyes. A moment I behold as alive memory.

Adule had started to open the bundle wrapped on the horizontal bamboo rod, which I later figured was the warp bar. Loose threads danced near the beam as she kept flipping open what was so carefully wrapped up together. This folded bundle, once opened, held the heddle, shed, motif sticks, sword, bobbin and the loom bar. To the loom bar, on the two ends a back strap or waist belt was meant to be fastened. Adule while holding all the sticks carefully fastened the belt around her sacrum. She created the right tension using her feet and the stretch on the back and instantly the loom took form and the loose threads were tightened into a defined warp and weft structure.  That moment I saw a human become the loom. She was not just using the loom, she was the extension of the loom.

This was a life changing moment of realising the relationship of craft to the craftsmen. The simplicity, portability, compact structure of this loom gave me new eyes of looking at tool and their usage vis-a-vis human evolution.

Through this privilege of working with skills that have lasted eons of change, I bow to the artisanal lineage of back strap loom weaving. And I am grateful to Chizami weaves for being my first bridge to a beautiful extension to craft.

I am learning weaving on backstop loom though I am far from being a weaver. But I have learnt to at least become the loom.


Part 3: About Tai Khampti Weaving

The base textile of the shawl is composed of plain textiles woven by Tai Khampti weavers from Arunachal Pradesh. We had brought about 500 kgs of cotton yarn to Arunachal Pradesh and took it as a drive to sensitise weavers towards using cotton over easily available synthetic yarns. This initiative spearheaded by a courageous woman called Nang Amlavati, brought livelihood to untrained weavers, single mothers, and older women to engage in weaving plain, checks and striped fabrics over many years.

Buyer Empowerments

Involves backstrap loom weaving of Nagaland contextualised to diverse usability. Weaves of back strap loom in harmony with a boxed and stripe patchwork of cotton gives this shawl a dynamic wearable setting. I intentionally chose the construction of bold patchwork with subtle triangle and rhombus motifs woven into the back strap loom weave pattern.
One of a kind wearable textile with back strap loom weaves of Nagaland. The motifs highlight the triangular geometry representing hills of Nagaland in colours that explore possibilities beyond the conventional usage. The triangle motifs are set next to large bold checks and stripe patchwork.
Moderate to substantial
Weather/ Mood
Pleasant- okay for summers to nippy evenings
Not fragile
Dry Clean only; Needs “Airing” in shadow, not direct sun. do not wring.
Ready to wear
Mill spun mercerised cotton yarn with Azo-free dyeing used for Naga weaves
Modern, playful geometry, drape offers a range from formal dress up to a casual staple
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. Mutual decision-making.
No deadline/ pressure based work environment.
In solidarity with backstrap loom weaving culture
Supports non- industrial tailoring skills.
Naga weaves made with supervision from North East Network.
Solid colour base woven in Arunachal under Amlavati’s supervision.
Cotton yarn from Salem, Tamil Nadu.
Stitched by Gurmel Singh, Jalalabad, Punjab
Beadwork 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