Osak Thebvo

Indigenous weaves from Nagaland
Spoken for
Ao naga textile: Hand-spun, back-strap loom woven organic cotton that is dyed with local Indigo dye called Osak. Three narrow individual panels are hand-stitched together using ancient Naga stitching techniques. This is part of Mora’s ongoing research on Ao indigenous indigo dye.

Kuzhami-naga textile: Hand-spun using ancient fibre-making technique of extracting yarn from Stinging nettle (Thebvo in Kuzhale dialect) plant. Thebvo aspect of the shawl is made at Thebvo Project, established 2014 in Zuketsa region, Nagaland

Both textiles involve traditional back-strap loom weaving of Nagaland. The yarn is hand-spun using spindle only. No charkha

Osak is home grown Indigo plant of Ao nagas. This textile involves their traditional method of indigo extraction involving seven broad steps:
Harvesting at the time of appropriate maturity
Pounding & pulping
Fermentation over 30-40 days depending upon weather conditions
Upon metallic hints on dye vat, turn pulp to dye cakes
Dye cakes are then offered appropriate alkalinity to extract Indigo dye. Combined with wood ash and other ingredients.
Fabric is then dip dyed into this vat

This is the only textile with Osak Dye in Mora 2021.

The maker of Osak aspect of shawl is an Ao lady, who has carried forward the ancient indigo dyeing techniques of her ancestors. She has not only mastered the art of making dye out of indigo plants, but also grows 15000 plants in her own home garden, tending to each plant on her own. She also hand-stitched the three panels of the shawl.

For voice of Thebvo makers and community please see blog. The proceeds from this textile are intended towards Thebvo project "artisans at ease".

Buyer Empowerments

Wearable textile made with ancient spinning, weaving and dyeing techniques, that are slowly being abandoned in modern context. Hope of rejuvenation that a textile that has lasted the test of thousand of years, can still enthral the makers and wearer’s senses.
One of a kind wearable heirloom that collages indigenous techniques of two different tribes of Nagaland. The subtle stripes in the warp texture of Osak cotton contrasted with the interlock patterns of Thebvo rugged weave. The natural Thebvo colour complimenting the subtle deeper tones of Ao Indigo.
Weather/ Mood
Pleasant-not warm not cold. More fit for cool to cold days.
Not Fragile, Sturdy, long-lasting- “lifelong” in their words, making it a generational heirloom. Texture will grow with time.
Okay to hand-wash. No dry clean needed. “Made to not be fragile”. Care-free. Seasonal “Airing” in shadow, not direct sun.
Ready to wear
100 % natural, Cellulose- based, organic, hand-made, from nature-back to nature. Something to grow old with and then pass it on to loved ones.
Made in rural household. Weaves made by artisan at home in available time- supporting farming lifestyle.
Direct connect with artisan.
Reverse pyramid model- Fair benefit to all makers and facilitators. No bargaining with artisans. Mutual decision-making.
No deadline/ pressure based work environment made with need-greed, human-nature balance.
Made with intentional non-injury. Slow production- slow movement product: Made less, made ethically.
Has gone through no chemical processing. Has gone through no machinery or mechanised processing units
Timeless, Ancient, Indigenous
Well-being Properties
Thermal insulation, Moisture absorption, UV protective, completely bio-degradable.
This Thebvo is made by Indigenous Kuzhami community with assistance of Thebvo project est 2014, Nagaland.

Thebvo-Osak binding stitch by Gurmel Singh, Jalalabad, 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