Colour to me is a dynamic dance of light and shadow. When colours start to blend into each other, shapes within shapes reveal. Patterns are formed. These patterns are patchworks documenting the flow of light and shadow. I like this dance.
Why I want to make these patchworks?
This requires mastered skill of patience, perseverance and precision. Hours, days and weeks go into putting small patches together.
The focussed intention that our tailor Gurmel’s face takes on whenever he sets himself to stitch another of these is a moment of silent exhilaration we share. He admits most often, he never thought he could make this. He also admits he is most keen to learn. And his heart is hard working. He wants to improve. He wants to do new things.
When he makes these patchworks, they first take birth in our heart. I visualise. He captures that visualisation. I intuitively choose colours, he technically binds them together. Playing with sacred geometry, we are never able to predict what the final mood of the patchwork will be like. So, we started enjoying this limitation. We now have a pact, we raise up the patchwork and see it only once it is completely put together. Before that we watch it stitch by stitch coming together, shifting shapes.
Some triangles fall in place and some tell us “keep doing, you are perfecting the act of doing imperfectly till it all begins to fall in place.”
About Tai Khampti weaving:
My association with Tai Khampti tribe began in 2012 when I expressed my wish to work with weaves of their community. She said she would involve her family- her own mother, mother-in-law and sisters-in-law to experiment making some weaves together. She mentioned that since they had not woven saris before, this would involve some trial and errors. Her family started to weave the more intricate patterns after about two years of trials. What started out among the family members in the year 2012, soon extended itself to about 30 homes of Namsai district.
In 2013, we brought about 500 kgs of cotton yarn to Arunachal Pradesh and took it as a drive to sensitise weavers towards using cotton over synthetic yarns for their indigenous weaves. Amla has championed the work we carried out with Tai Khampti weavers for more years than I could ever imagine. She began engaging untrained weavers, single mothers, and older women to engage in weaving plain, checks and striped fabrics. Rather than buying plain handloom fabrics from mainland, we began creating livelihood opportunities by weaving less intricate weaves as a medium of training new weavers and convenient income for trained ones.