This shawl has two sides highlighting two different textile skills- weaving and stitching.
One side has the highlighted central panel of weaves of back strap loom of Nagaland contrasted using plain cotton woven in Arunachal Pradesh. When we see this cotton, there is nothing unique about it. But when we put a context of a community that never before wove cotton as plain yardage on their traditional loom, it adds a deeper layer of curiosity.
“Why did Ritika get these plain fabrics woven in Arunachal Pradesh, a territory that is remote and hard to access? She could have easily bought this fabric from mainland India.”
The fuel to Mora has never been about accessibility, practicality or efficiency.
If these factors had to supersede the journey of Mora, then I would have never chosen North East India as my centre focus. I would have remained in mainland India. I feel offended by the fact that North East India still does not receive good quality cotton yarn to weave with. The markets of North East India are still flooded with synthetic yarns or cheap quality cotton. So, I took cotton from Salem, Tamil Nadu and took it to the remotest regions in North East India. That required some madness! The yarn we took is mercerised Azo-free dyed cotton yarn. Weavers like working with it. So, I began to get plain varied colour yardages woven by Tai Khapti tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. Monetarily, of course it is pointless. But by measure of meaningfulness, it is one of one most exhilarating moments when I walk the lanes of the village where these fabrics get woven and each house on either side has a loom and each loom has these fabrics being woven.
These homes when seen together from bird’s eye view would have looked like a patchwork of different colours.
So I decided to add patchwork to the second side of this shawl to give a tactile form to this memory.
Together shades of blue reflect through the weaves and patchwork and tell me, “do not limit yourself with the safest, quickest or most accessible. Step forward and see the cerulean sky. Magic often remains unnoticed, if we only look at the obvious.”