Crafts Council of Telangana opens a new space in Hyderabad to promote weavers and artisans
The Crafts Council of Telangana (CCT) has a new address, ‘CCT Spaces’ on Road no. 12, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. The multifunctional venue houses the CCT and CCAP (Crafts Council of Andhra Pradesh) offices, and has ample space for retail, exhibitions, a cafe and collaborative workshops spread over 20,000 square feet.
The space has been a dream come true, exclaim Usha Rayalu, chairperson, and Meena Appnender, secretary of CCT and CCAP. In 1992, the council had envisioned a small space of its own where weavers and artisans could meet. The requirements changed over the years and the council realised the need for space that could host and promote weavers and artisans and be a cultural meeting space for anyone interested in handlooms and crafts.
Funds pooled in from the Aakruthi Vastra exhibitions and other individual donors led to CCT Spaces. Hyderabad might now be inundated with lifestyle exhibitions, but the crafts council of undivided AP was a trendsetter when it brought together a few weavers to display their collections for an exhibition in the mid 90s.
The atrium of CCT Spaces boasts of a craft wall — a colourful installation of arts and crafts from the country.
The CCT and CCAP premises, formally inaugurated with a small real-time audience and a larger virtual audience on December 8, is welcoming visitors with ‘Interlace’, an exhibition of jamdani weaving techniques, showcased by Hyderabad-based textile designer Gaurang Shah and his team of weavers.
Take a close look at the fine Dhakai jamdani saris woven with 300-count muslin, staying true to the original style of jamdani weaving from Dhaka, Bangladesh. An almost-sheer sari took the weavers three years of labour: “Weaving the jamdani patterns using 300-count yarn takes time, but the result is one to behold. We work with 10 weavers who specialise in Dhakai jamdani,” explains Gaurang.
A relatively “easier” sari where the jamdani patterns have been woven using 150-count, took the weavers a year and a half. Among the saris on display, the “easiest” ones, informs Gaurang, took the weavers eight to 10 months on a loom.
Interlace takes viewers on a journey, as the Dhakai jamdani technique merged with textile traditions in different parts of India – jamdani on Kota silks from Rajasthan, cottons from Srikakulam, Venkatagiri and Uppada in Andhra Pradesh, Benarasi, Paithani and Kashmir. Geometric patterns, florals, motifs inspired by Mughal paintings, blue pottery, Chintz… there’s no dearth of variety: “Our weavers are eager to take up new challenges and try out any new pattern and push their craft,” says Gaurang, adding that 70% of the weavers are women.
One of the saris on display is the handiwork of a 70-year-old women weaver, bearing traditional Maharashtrian patterns where each bangle encompasses four birds.
Then there are the fusions — Paithani and Srikakulam, Kota and Uppada jamdani, and a coming together of Paithani, Sambalpuri ikat and Uppada with jamdani.
Apart from Interlace, CCT Spaces also has a museum-like display of label Gaurang’s handwoven saris that recreate the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma in the pallu of sari, and a live demonstration of Jamdani weaving. The Raja Ravi Varma sari collection is for those who missed an earlier exhibition of the special edition saris early this year, before the pandemic set in.
Interlace is on view till December 13 at CCT Spaces. For details, check @craftscounciloft on Instagram.