Round six months in the past when designer Sreejith Jeevan of Rouka visited Handloom Weaving Co-operative Society quantity 648 in Cherai he was testing the waters.
He needed to see if the weavers can be receptive to attempting new issues on the loom. The 5 weavers of the women-only weaver’s society that he labored with had been weaving kaavi (ochre) mundu. That they had been weaving the mundu for years, they weren’t certain if they might have the ability to weave saris. Sreejith was there, as design guide, for Chennai-based Care four Chendamangalam (C4C), which works with weavers of this society towards facilitating an improve not solely of their vary of merchandise but additionally their abilities.
The gathering of 16 saris is now prepared, and might be on present on November 2 and three on the Kerala Museum, Pathadipalam. Restricted variety of saris on the exhibition might be on sale, the others might be pre-ordered and might be woven. “This is more to show the saris, see how people react to them and the response, which would show us the way forward. We will know what works and what doesn’t,” says Sreejith. He provides that the saris have been enthusiastically woven over the past couple of months as soon as their inhibitions have been solid apart and confidence gained. “The weaving technique used is the same. Not having too many techniques is a good thing you can experiment with what is available,” he says. Chendamangalam handloom is GI tagged.
The workshop he held in Might helped weavers Anitha Suresh, KP Aisha, Vinu VG, TK Siji and Deepa KM. It opened their eyes to potentialities and the way they may manipulate their data to step out of the field when it comes to the designs they wove.
“We advised them to strive new issues, they have been initially hesitant however we advised them that we’d purchase the kaavi mundu items they experimented on. That put them relaxed they usually went about enthusiastically suggesting issues that could possibly be completed.”
On the workshop, the weavers got 5 assignments amongst which have been ‘designing’ saris with stripes, ‘plan’ a sari and plot a motif. It additionally gave Sreejith an concept about what the ladies would have the ability to do. Because the concepts flowed, they obtained daring —butterflies, crosses, katti kara (thick borders), knots…the warp and weft of the loom grew to become their canvas.
The saris are boldly modern —colour-blocked, striped, with motifs woven on to them, an additional weft or dropping one, half-n-half, with kasavu, with out kasavu…“after the sampling phase, all of us were comfortable,” says Sreejith. The palette is autumn — black, white, pink and teal. “This is the Kerala sari sensibility with a minor tweak and a contemporary touch . Something that can be worn to a party or cocktail, so that it is no longer just a costume.”
The white-based Kerala sari is a traditional – reserved for particular events akin to Onam, wedding ceremony or particular days. That is one thing that works towards it not merely when it comes to gross sales figures but additionally when it comes to its sustainability as a method of livelihood. A lot of the weavers, in native weaving clusters, are girls. It’s perceived as not being profitable sufficient to pursue as a profession, and will result in the craft dying.
Making a market is a technique that calls for design interventions, which might pave the best way for product improvement utilizing the present talent set. Throughout the course of their floor work C4C realised that the youngest weaver was 45, a pointer to how handloom weaving is perceived. An influence of the initiatives akin to these is that it might lead to greater wages for weavers in addition to a gradual market. “For the weavers to get better wages, the only way ahead is design led change to create a product that demands the price and to make sure it reaches the person who is willing to pay that price. This is one such experiment to take the product to newer markets besides the comfort zone of their own society’s territory,” Sreejith says.
The weaving began post-Onam, in mid-September, and the saris are actually prepared. As soon as the saris, woven as 20 metre yardage, began getting completed the ladies have been enthusiastic about what that they had been in a position to do.
When the photograph shoot was deliberate, the workforce needed to make the weavers mannequin their saris, together with a few of their associates. In all there have been eight fashions, “they were happy and so were their husbands who dropped in for the shoot.”
The Chendamangalam Cluster
The members of C4C initiative are Preetha Reddy, Vice Chairman – Apollo Hospitals, Minnie Menon – jewelry designer, Thejomaye Menon – artist, hotelier – Shekar Sitaraman and Meera Mammen, Vice President-Welfare of MRF. The Chendamangalam cluster has seven handloom weaving societies, put up 2018 floods, C4C selected to work with HWCS-648 which has 42 girls weavers. Based mostly on their findings, two focus areas have been recognized —revival of the society that has been adopted and nurturing the subsequent technology of weavers. The collaboration with Sreejith Jeevan is a part of a three-year street map that has been deliberate to take the merchandise out of Chendamangalam/Cherai and take it throughout the nation.