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Our Past As Our Future

Craft, Handloom, Art, Education/Learning, Op-Ed, Reviews

Our Past As Our Future: Weaving Tomorrow at Chirala

Chatterjee, Ashoke

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Over 300 weavers gathered in Chirala (AP) in November for a 7-day meet on “Rethinking Indian Industrialization of Crafts”, organized by REEDS (a Hyderabad-based NGO), Handloom Futures Trust, the National Federation for Handloom and Handicrafts, Maastricht University and the University of Leiden. Participants came from twelve states and Thailand, Taiwan, China and Laos. Some travelled four days and nights, all carrying looms and spinning wheels. A weavers’ camp set up at a school drew the local community to a unique sharing of knowledge and hope. Indigo vats were installed by Indian and Thai dyers. A display by Registry of Sarees showcased 200 years of khadi experience. Curator Mayank brought 24 pieces of exquisite fabric gathered from across the country. Translators and scholars were on hand at workshops and discussion which reflected the capacity of artisans to absorb from one another across all barriers. An Andhra weaver learned intricate weaving techniques from Laos. Weavers from Kutch demonstrated the importance of wool within the handloom scenario, while another from Chhattisgarh resolved problems in dyeing Uttarakhand nettle yarn through exchanges with Jagada Rajappa (Hyderabad) and weaver Tang Wen Chun (Taiwan). A year of meticulous planning unfolded effortlessly along Chirala’s magnificent shore, the sea a metaphor of timelessness. Old As The ‘New-New’ And Other Findings Weaver interactions were a backdrop to two days of discussion, bringing together weavers and scholars from around the globe on issues of craft and pedagogy, law, labour, live...

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