Cotton patchwork into a dupatta
Cotton weaving in India has been able to bring together many traditional handloom techniques, and I always find it intriguing to tell one apart from the other. Venkatgiri, Chettinad, Warangal, Uppada, Pochampalli and many such. Regions represent their identity with the quality and style of their weaves, often giving names of geography to these weaves. The movement over centuries has invited merging of various styles.
While growing up in a small village in North India, my exposure to weaving culture was remote. The women in my family wore handloom saris most of the time, but I didn’t grow up with the curiosity of textiles. I grew up with many cousins and a lof of traditional recipes. I remember my mother and grandmother taking names of traditional textiles. I also remember some men carrying huge bundles of textiles, travelling from far away regions, coming every year around the same time as a ritual, to sell what they had got. They were all unique and beautiful but I never really made any note of it. I was a naughty kid. Never steady enough to enjoy these intricacies of craft.
The weaves of various weaving communities of West and South India began to intrigue me only when Mora happened. Though I chose another road. I began to work with North Eastern textiles that are primarily back strap loom or traditional throw shuttle of Assam.
Over these years, I have continued to include textiles from mainland India in my collection every year. This calls for a mandatory travel to these regions as often as I can when I come down from the North and North East. Meeting artisans who weave fine counts of cotton with intricate motifs is a completely different philosophy of weaving than what I have chosen to work with. Nonetheless, the passion to see their potential keeps bringing me back.
It is the same way that I grew up on tea and cold coffee, till I had my first sip of good old filter coffee.
This is a gentle dupatta put together like a good cup of coffee with jaggery, brewed slow.