hand loom weavers
The beauty about weaving is that it is a craft that gives every member of the family an opportunity to master their skill. The women make the warp for the loom, followed by both men and women sharing the task of starching the warp yarn, which is then rolled onto a bobbin by women, and finally the fabric is created on the loom by men. Final finishing touches, such as putting twisted fringes or hand fraying of the ends of the scarves, are all meticulously done by the women. It is truly a family affair!
In Bhuj, we are working with Rajeshbhai. His family has been weaving for generations, and, through years of dedication and passion to keep the craft alive, he and his brothers have built a community of weavers around them. They are currently employing 60 families in the village. You can read further here about the entire handmade process.
We are also working with another family of weavers who have a different style of design. Pachan, who we were lucky to work with during one of our many recce trips, gets inspired by picking a particular theme and using that to create new designs. Today he and his three brothers, as well as their mum, run a partnership weaving business. Pachan is the design guru, while his brother is a master artisan and the one who crunches the numbers. Panchan's mum does the looming and his grandmother finishes the beautiful tassels.
WomenWeave is a cooperative that was started by Sally Holkar in the historic town of Maheshwar. It was started in 2002 by Sally because she wanted to support the role of women in the hand loom weaving industry and she now works towards making the craft a profitable and sustainable business for the artisans. I chose to work with WomenWeave because our missions are very much aligned and I think they are game changers in the industry (my favourite bit about visiting their campus....they have weekly "venting" sessions for the artisans - basically a therapy session for the women to air all their issues, personal and professional...talk about the antithesis to corporate culture)!