Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dastkar Andhra Marketing Association's annual Hyderabad exhibition packed up yesterday. As usual it was full of wonderful fabrics from the Andhra co-operatives. In the picture are some favourites, two natural dyed sarees from Srikakulam woven with extraordinary and specialized weaving skills: The red saree has hand-set jamdani buttas and the indigo saree has a temple border with moga silk extra weft. In the jamdani technique the weaver weaves in by hand each motif line by line after each weft thread is beaten into place. For the temple border on the indigo saree a weaver [sometimes with a helper] uses 3 shuttles, the ones at each end carrying the weft of the borders. At each weft line the end shuttles have to be looped around the middle shuttle. Both these techniques need hand-sleying without the fly shuttle, so of course are much much slower to weave.

Awe-inspiring and humbling that such artistry is available to be worn today.

In the background a couple of dupattas from Chinnur which fly off the shelves because of their soft texture. Dastkar has re-inducted a new generation of weavers in the villages around Chinnur and the fabrics are among DAMA's hottest sellers.

DAMA's supplier co-operatives lost around 20 lakh rupees worth of production during the heavy rains this year, in spite of which DAMA's annual sale this year will be over 3 crores. DAMA has been self-sufficient for some time now, and is a model of a marketing enterprise serving rural production, supplying the vast Indian middle market at low cost with beautiful, good quality & reasonably priced fabrics.

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