Rethinking What We Do


Rethinking What We Do: Scholars commune at Chirala

Chatterjee, Ashoke

Over 300 weavers gathered in Chirala(AP) in November for a 7-day global meet on “Rethinking Indian Industrialization of Crafts”. Organized by REEDS (a Hyderabad-based NGO working with rural communities),Dastakar Andhra and other partners. The conference drew participants from Kutch, J&K, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland and Sikkim, from every southern state, as well as from Thailand, Taiwan, China and Laos. For some, the journey meant travelling four days and nights -- carrying looms and spinning wheels. A  weavers’ camp, with exhibition and work spaces, was set up under trees and shelters at a local school, drawing the local community into what  was perhaps a first:so many weavers  coming together in India to share knowledge and  hope. Indigo vats were installed by Indian and Thai dyers. An exhibition of khadi products by Registry of Sarees displayed 200 years of experience. Curator Mayank and his team from Delhi brought 24 pieces of exquisite fabric gathered from across the country. Translators and scholars were on hand as workshops and discussion reflected the enormous capacity of artisans to communicate and absorb from one another across barriers. An Andhra weaver was seen learning intricate weaving techniques from Laos. Another from Chhattisgarh overcame problems in dyeing nettle yarn from Uttarakhand through his exchanges with Jagada Rajappa (Hyderabad) and weaver Tang Wen Chun (Taiwan), while a contingent from Kutch demonstrated the importance of wool within the handloom scenario. ‘Old’ as the ‘new-new’ and other findings As a ye...
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