Located in Mudra, Kutch, Shakilji’s craft is backed by six generations of artisans running in the family. He was taught by his father and father’s brother and today, they are a creative group of seven working in the workshop.
But don’t be deceived by the long history that protectively backs Shakilji’s craft. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected their retail and wholesale sales and they are all in to explore the “online sales” market, especially for the sale of their available stock.
Bhujodi comes from Bhuj, Kutch and it is believed that the Bhujodi vankaris of today are descendants of the Meghwal community of Rajasthan who had migrated to Bhuj about 500 years ago.
With 35 years of vankari experience under his colourfully woven belt, Vishram brings with him the skills inherited from his great-grandfather as each newborn was taught to weave the Bhujodi weave from childhood.
His son Bharat Loncha and daughter-in-law Damayanti practice the craft alongside him.
Chanderi is a sheer fabric that gets the texture from weaving in silk and zari into the cotton yarn. While some believe that chanderi originated in the ancient Vedic period during the time of Lord Krishna, it gained popularity with each reigning monarch of the Chanderi region of Madhya Pradesh.
Unfortunately, Sanjay Koli, among other chanderi weavers are quite terribly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, so much so that it has become difficult for some of the weavers to feed their families.
Online sales on the artisan shop would immensely help Sanjay and his weavers in the historical centre of chanderi.
Producer of Aksharadevi Puttapaka handlooms and handicrafts, Satyam has been practising the Ikat dyeing technique for over 20 years, nurtured by a family history of Ikat making that runs over 40 years.
He works with a unique resist dyeing technique that creates the distinct Ikat patterns. Though blurry in appearance, the blurriness is actually the prized symbolism of the difficulty with which the weaver has lined up the dyed yarns for the patterns to come out perfectly in the finished cloth.
Online sales and sales in international markets would be an ideal return on his family’s efforts.
Raman Basak is the fourth generation of a family of weavers located in Phulia, West Bengal. He is one among the Basak community who moved to Fulia from Tangail in Bangladesh during the Bangladesh-Pakistan war in 1971. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather all practised in Bangladesh and brought the craft with them to India.
The Basak community brought the cotton and silk Jamdani weave with them and later went on to include Jaquard. While it was a struggle initially to find sellers in Bengal since there was no market then, gradually the popularity of the Fulia’s weave grew.
Raman did not receive any formal training to learn his craft. He just learnt by observing his father and practising from time-to-time. He remembers watching my mother thread-pulling, also called “bobbin”, and applying rice starch to cotton threads and then drying. Looms were then set for jacquard or plain weaving.
The thread processing and weaving had to be done the same day or they would get stained. When the weather was bad, often the processing would go to waste because the threads wouldn’t have dried.
Raman and the weaver community of Phulia have a different kind of a challenge today; sales are at their lowest due to the pandemic and any online sales would help support the community continue cultivating their craft.
The brand makes hand-painted textiles using natural dyes and traditional processes for designers and leading stores in India.
With over two decades dedicated to reviving traditional hand-painted kalamkari and other declining crafts, Mamta skilfully combines traditional techniques with experimental designs for designers, all while supporting 50 kalamkari artisan families in Sri Kalahasti.
From the artisan shop, the brand will be sending across the entire sum to the families that it houses.
Aman Ansari is based in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh.
He is a 4th generation Maheshwari textile weaver and a designer.
He runs Tana Bana to support other weavers of Maheshwari textiles locally.
Nitin is based in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh where he has been weaving for the past eight years in a workshop with eight others. He works under the name Ruhi Handloom.
A part of a family of six, five members from Nitin’s family have opted for the profession of weaving. While this has sustained them well up until now, due to the negligible sales in the pandemic, there has been a direct impact on the family’s economic and mental stability.
It would indeed be a huge help to Nitin’s family if his sarees, dupattas and dress materials start making sales online.
Santoshi comes from a family of handloom weavers based in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, her paternal Grandmother ( Dadi) was the first one to learn weaving from Hathkargha.
Santoshi and her sister learnt the art at the Handloom School and everyone in her family including her husband have been working together at Santoshi Handloom for over 30-40 years now.
The past year has been riddled with difficulties to sustain their 10 weavers due to low or no sales and any online sales on the artisan shop will help them buy raw materials to continue weaving new collections.
Weaving since the age of 10, Shahnawaz learnt weaving from his mother and now works at his uncle’s workshop with his cousin in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh.
He weaves pure cotton or silk sarees with zari and brocade with different designs, including stripes, checks and floral borders.
While Shahnawaz absolutely enjoys working on Maheshwari sarees and fabric weaving, due to the pandemic, the head weaver has stopped passing on work to him. This has made it difficult for him to continue supporting his family and take care of any medical expenses.
He runs Tanoof Clothing with his brother.
If Shahnawaz’s sarees are sold on the artisan shop, it would truly relieve him of monetary burdens in these desperate times and enable him to focus on his craft.
Anand Rathod & his family are from Dedadara village of Surendranath district, Gujarat. The family has been practising Tangaliya weaving for the last 15 years.
Due to decreasing demands, the family resorted to other occupations such as agriculture. Only after persuasion and training from NIFT, Care (Delhi) and Saath Charitable Trust, Ahmedabad, Anand and his family have started practicing their traditional craft again.
They now use cotton and silks instead of wool as raw materials to suit the modern market demands but are committed to keeping the traditional motifs and designs intact.
The Dangasia community from Gujarat has been practising the craft for almost 700 years. The craft requires a high skill level and an eye for accuracy.
Jasir’s father, master artisan Abdul Ahmad, set up a weaving studio called Hunar Crafts in 1978 in Wakura, close to Srinagar valley and Jasir is the third generation of this family of master craftsmen to continue working in the studio.
Both tilla and sozni, also called suzani, embroideries have a special place in the hearts of Kashmiris because a Kashmiri bride’s trousseau is considered incomplete without using the tilla embroidered masterpiece.
Jasir embroiders sarees, salwar kameez, peherans and shawls in a delicate gilded pattern using gold and silver metallic thread. Similarly, for the sozni embroidery, he uses silk threads and thin needles to stitch elaborate floral and paisley patterns on Pashmina stoles and shawls. It is quite a workmanship.
By selling his masterpieces online, Jasir will be ale to continue, despite the pandemic, what his father started back in 1978.