The craft roots of Tangaliya

This weekend (24th – 26th of March) a Craftroots exhibition will be held at Rajpath Club, Ahmedabad. (View invitation here: e-invitation-craftroots). Rweaves will be present at this exhibition, with a variety of Tangaliya, Patola, Khadi and Best-out-of-Waste products! To warm you up for this event, we’d like to give you some background information about Tangaliya.

Tangaliya is a weaving art native to the Dangashiya community of Surendranagar, Gujarat. The Dangashiya community is a mixed community of weavers and shepherds (Bharwad). The weavers made blankets and shawls out of sheep and goat wool for the shepherds to wear. They developed a special technique of weaving, also known as Dana work, only known to the Dangashiya community. Tiny dots of extra weft are twisted around a number of warp threads, giving an effect of bead embroidery to the fabric. This intricate process of twisting extra weft while weaving creates beautiful geometrical patterns and forms.

Tangaliya is woven on a pitloom: a small ans simple loom that is installed in a pit. The loom is operated by two footpedals (in the pit), leaving the hands of the weaver free for the dana-work. Traditionally, a tangaliya shawl is about 10 feet long and 4 feet wide. Shepherds wear it in the fields and their women wear It over a petticoat on special occasions. A traditional pitloom is 2 feet wide. To make a traditional shawl, a 20 feet long piece of fabric is cut in two and then the sides are stitched together.

Nowadays Tangaliya work is made in fine cotton and is used for a wide range of other products. Rweaves helps the artisans from SUVAS* to brand their products and to make contemporary designs to ensure them of a sustainable livelihoods.  Recently Tangaliya obtained the GI tag (Geographical Indication), confirming  the uniqueness of this weaving art.

If you want to see how Tangaliya is made, please visit Rweaves at the Craftroots exhibition. A loom will be installed and you can watch the artisans perform their weaving skills.

* SUVAS is a federation of rural artisans from Surendranagar, Gujarat. SUVAS is promoted by the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Gandhinagar, in association with Saath Livelihood Services and CARE India.

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