It celebrates designs in six yards and brings alive the country’s looms that have been silent owing to the pandemic
With the country opening up gradually during the pandemic, buying handloom is not particularly high on people’s priority list, feels Bharathy Harish, coordinator of Madhurya Creations in Bengaluru. Weavers were hit hard by COVID-19. “Diverse communities with unique weaving patterns developed over the last 5,000 years are our country’s pride and joy. It is our duty to help our weavers; towards that end, Madhurya Creations is hosting House of Heritage, an online project to help weavers showcase their unsold stock.”
Madhurya Creations was started by Art of Living to revive the traditional arts and crafts of India. “We work with weavers from several parts of the country including Kanchipuram, Uppada, Paithan, Chanderi, Maheshwar, Banaras, Kota, Phulia and Ilkal in North Karnataka. We create designs that combine motifs and patterns from different parts of the country,” explains Bharathy.
Bharathy says weavers have been unable to sell what they had woven before lockdown. “They have been forced to look for alternative employment as construction workers or domestic help. There are entire weaving villages that have no other means of income. If we make a conscious decision to support these weavers during the festival season, it will go a long way in keeping their looms alive.”
With 1,080 weavers on board, the online showcase will have saris for all occasions, ranging from daily wear to bridal wear and everything in between. One of Madhurya Creations’ revival efforts is Uppada saris. “It is woven in the jamdani style by a handful of weavers in the quaint village of Uppada in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. We are not only reviving traditional designs but are also focussing on current trends in terms of colour and motifs,” she adds.
Bharathy says there is an effort to decode the meaning of traditional motifs and weaves on social media. For instance, what is the significance of Benarsi silk for weddings? “Varanasi is considered one of the oldest cities of the world and is in some sense, eternal. When people get married, they want their relationship to last forever and the Benarasi sari symbolises this perfectly.”
The sale is on till Deepavali. For details, visit https://www.madhurya.com/.
House of Heritage has a Royal Selection featuring saris chosen by 25 women of royal lineage. Shailaraje Pawar of Dhar in Madhya Pradesh says, “My family supports the handmade Bagh prints of Dhar district. Weavers of the region have been patronised by our fore fathers, and we will continue to do this.”
Rasika Prakash and Divyashree Kumari of Sirmur, Uttarakhand, say that they favour hand-painted and printed, as well as gold and silver thread zari on chiffons.
Says Mayurakshi Singh of Arki in Himachal Pradesh. “We must have initiatives that adapt to changing trade and consumer patterns, so that by our purchase of a national handloom product we would be incentivising a fading craft.”