Textiles and crafts
This trail is a call to all lovers of the aesthetics of weaving, craftwork and other art forms. Southern Asia is full of tremendously exciting art forms which work with textiles and natural and organic material. To give you a glimpse of the same, this journey includes the famous and the offbeat – for instance, take the Ikkat dye fabrics from Gujarat – with rising popularity in urban centres as ikkat-looking block prints on cotton fabric become fashionably ‘ethnic’, this form of textile art is losing its market. The best way to understand it today is to see it being made from scratch in workshops specialising in Cambay double Ikkat techniques, otherwise called Patola, on both silk and cotton.
Similarly, we take the case of bags made of jute and other coarse fabrics in Shantiniketan. Popular across Bengal for many decades, these bags have only seen gradual decline in the recent past – so we take you to Bolepur to see the level of craftsmanship behind these products along with a tutorial at the famous Kala Bhavan of the Vishva Bharati University.
Other destinations include the majestic town of Chanderi in central India, famous world over for its silk sarees which are woven completely by hand and the outskirts of Jaipur to see blue pottery and ceramic work. While these are some convenient options in northern and central India, the highlight of this concept is the time in the handlooms of pashmina wool in the hilly state of Jammu and Kashmir to see how coarse wool from pashmina goats can be turned into the softest shawls by human hands.
This journey is made for those who have kept their temper to learn alive and intend to do so forever.