Kaleidoscope patchwork | Dimasa weave borders | Weaves from Tai Khampti looms
Spoken for

Part1: To make a textile kaleidoscope, the stitching craftsmen must assume highest dhyana, or concentration. With single mind focus Gurmel Singh blocks out all other distractions and carefully engages in picking each tiniest piece of fabric and aligning into the desired geometry. He then engages with it through cutting, ironing, aligning, joining, recutting, ironing, aligning, joining each triangle to construct new boxes. Over few days of meticulously joining each of these tiny scraps, a kaleidoscope takes shape. In its construction it is a patchwork, in its execution it is Dhyana.

Part 2: In the Pallu, along with the kaleidoscope, panels of Dimasa weave motifs appear. Dimasas inhabit North Cachar Hills, the only hill region of Assam. I have been able to spend 6 years working with Dimasa community and explored many of their traditional motifs while living in Haflong and surrounding villages. I learnt about their food, taboos, language, festivals and rituals. Attended weddings, child birth and funerals. The weaves made with Dimasa tribe were part of the cotton awareness drive we carried out across North East India where many hundreds of kilos of cotton yarn from Salem, Tamil Nadu were carried to these regions so that we could sensitise weavers towards not forgetting the art of weaving with natural yarns. Synthetic yarns offer higher tensile strength and are not easy to break so the weavers prefer weaving with them as they can go much faster.

All the 6 years with Dimasa tribe, each weave we worked on together was made with cotton. These weaves were woven with consent of the weavers, with credit to the Dimasa community who are the original custodians of the motifs, designed in collaboration with weavers and facilitators, with sustained and encouraging compensation. This weave is made by Molina.

The weaves and songs of the tribe are their documented history. To me, they are more real than books. Their rich ancestry is a keen topic of infinite exploration.

Part 3: The base textile of the sari is composed of plain and check pattern 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 brought livelihood to untrained weavers, single mothers, and older women to engage in weaving plain, checks and striped fabrics.

When we look with Dhyana, we will see many elements in this sari that will reveal over time.

Dimasa textile related vocabulary incorporated in the sari: Gishim bodo, Dilam ball( leaf), Yuina Gibim, Ruina yakhri.

Buyer Empowerments

Involves precision stitching skills and understanding of geometry for desired placements. Indigenous weaving techniques of Dimasa tribe of Assam.
Intricate patchwork set in contrast with the solids. The choice of colours is as deliberate as intuitional. To bring in various weaves, textures, stitching style together into a one side-endless mechanism was a challenging feat yet extremely rewarding when we put the final stroke and said its done now! Bringing in a sudden surprise of the panels woven by Dimasa community weavers uplifted the grace.
Weather/ Mood
Pleasant- okay for summers to nippy evenings
Not fragile
Dry Clean only; Needs “Airing” in shadow, not direct sun. Do not wring
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.
Patchwork includes many handloom woven cotton- not natural dyed. Dimasa weaves, checks and plain fabrics woven with ago-free dyed yarn.
Celebratory, vibrant, traditional translated to modern
Supports non-industrial tailoring skills.
Faith in up-skilling unskilled artisans.
Fabric scrap re-purposing.
Slow production of indigenous weaves that are made by artisan at home in available time- supporting farming lifestyle.
Livelihood opportunity for amateur weavers, single mothers, older women who cannot farm.
Design handling leadership training, inventory keeping, costing and parcel handling collaboration with Aitryee and Amla
Awareness drive to choose natural yarns over easily available synthetic yarns.
Dimasa weaves woven with supervision from Aitryee using cotton from Salem.
Fabric scrap management by Madhu Mittal.
Solid colour base woven in Arunachal under Amlavati’s supervision.
Cotton yarn from Salem, Tamil Nadu.
Patchwork and Stitching 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