Art & Culture

Weaving magic with 'Ikats of India'

A special handloom expo kicked off on the 16th of February in Bangalore. The Basava Bhavan auditorium is transformed into a colorful, multi-hued place.

Ikats of India gives us glimpse a into the artistic richness of India.Ikats of India gives us glimpse a into the artistic richness of India Photos: Riddhi Mukherjee

A special handloom expo kicked off
on the 16th of February in Bangalore. The Basava Bhavan auditorium is transformed into a colorful, multi-hued place.
 The exhibition titled ‘Ikats of India’ and features artisans displaying the ikat style of weaving and tie-and-dye handlooms from all over India. The term ikat has its origins in Indonesian language and is used alternatively as a noun (thread or knot) and as a verb (‘to bind’ or ‘to tie’). Ikat is a resist dyeing process, which is quite similar to tie-and-dye and in it either the warp or the weft (the yarns perpendicular to each other) is dyed. When both are dyed together it is known as double ikat.

Artisans from Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were present at the exhibition. On display were sarees, churidars, dress materials and home furnishings. One of the stalls was exhibiting and selling the traditional Gujrati ‘Rajkot Patola’ and ‘Bandhej’. Nilesh Vadher, who was manning the stall, explained that some of the designs require artisans to spend more than a month on creating one saree. Each thread is precisely placed on the loom (a patola design requires about 4000 threads to be woven together) and stretched to the length of the saree and then woven. The Bandhej style requires extremely precise handwork. It basically utilizes the tie-and-dye technique.

Bijay Behera at the Sambalpuri Bastralaya stall says that ikat weaving has been practiced in Orissa since the turn of the 12th century. The weavers in the Sambalpur area are one of the best. Their creations are even exported to countries like Japan and Russia. The small town of Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh is famous for the hand-woven Chanderi sarees. Some of the sought after styles of Chanderi sarees are ‘Jakat Pallu with Nakshi design’, Kirleta Pallu with silk stripes’ and “Tissue Plain saree’. Tanjeer Ahmed, an artisan from Chanderi, said that these sarees are equally popular among the middle and rich societies.

On display are sarees, churidars, dress materials and home furnishings.On display are sarees, churidars, dress materials and home furnishings.

West Bengal was represented by the Bordangi Handloom Cluster Development Society. It is based out of a town called Santiniketan. “Indian Governments thrust on cluster-based development in the textile sector has benefited the weavers a great deal”, says P.K. Adhikari at the stall. The ‘Kantha’ style, ‘Nimjeri’ style and ‘Baluchari’ style are most well-known from this region. Banarasi silk sarees are famous all over the world, but at this expo another region from Uttar Pradesh also got its share in the limelight.

The weavers of Mubarakpur, in Azamgarh district, have for a long time lived under the shadow of their counterparts from Varanasi. Their creations are sold under the name of Banarasi sarees. “Such exhibitions gives us a chance to show our work to the people and helps to create a separate identity for ourselves”, says M. Ahmed at the Fiza Saree stall from Newada, Mubarakpur.  For the artisans it is an excellent opportunity to showcase their creations and for the visitors it provides a glimpse into the artistic richness of India.
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The exhibition is on till the 23rd of February and is open from 11am till 8pm.

Basava Bhavana

1, Basaveshwara Road, Basava Circle
Race Course Road
Vasanthanagar, Bangalore -560052 Map

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Tags: ikats of india, basava bhavan auditorium, ikat sarees, ikat style, weavin, west bengal, patola design, chanderi, ikat weaving, baluchari’ style, nimjeri’ style

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