Tag Archives: rural artisans

Intern Fridays with Patola Polash

Polash Mukerjee was an intern at our organization in June 2011. He is studying Development Studies at the IIT in Chennai. Read his story below!

I worked with one of Saath’s rural initiatives, RWeaves. Through this initiative, Saath promotes traditional Tangaliya and Patola workers, through microfinance loans, procurement assistance and through facilitating sales in Ahmedabad and other cities of India. My internship consisted of working on the pricing of RWeaves products, in order to determine the optimum price, in accordance with fair trade standards. In my opinion, RWeaves is an excellent programme that helps not just sustain but enhance the livelihoods of the rural artisan of Northern Gujarat. Saath is doing its part in reviving the heritage and the vision of cottage industries that Mahatma Gandhi had.

Interning at Saath was an excellent experience. Although Saath was my first formal internship, I didn’t really feel out of place. The entire process helped me learn not just a bunch of stuff that I couldn’t read about, in a book, but more importantly, how to learn on the go. I learnt how to work in a group, and individually. I learnt what it feels like to be yelled at (no names mentioned!), and what appreciation feels like. The people I met at Saath, including some of the artisans, were really warm individuals who excelled in their own spheres. I really have to mention Kiranbhai, who was more patient with my requests than required, and Narsinhbhai of Kataria, Limbdi, whose Patola Sari’s were products of exemplary skill and craftsmanship.

Overall, I have to say my learning experience at Saath was fun, exciting, frustrating, and eye opening.

Picture Time Saturdays: Weaving Patola

A woman preparing silk threads for Patola weaving in Kataria Village, Surendranagar. This woman and her family are a member of the Rweaves programme intiated by Saath and SUVAS, a federation of artisans from Surendranagar. Rweaves supports rural artisan communities, offers a marketing platform for local artisans and prevents ancient weaving arts from extinction.

For more information about Rweaves, download the brochure by clicking here.

Launching Rweaves!

Saath has been working with Patola, Tangaliya and cotton weaving artisans from Surendranagar since 2006 through the Snehal project supported by CARE India. The project ended in 2009 and through it, a Federation was set up of the artisans. Today the artisans have better linkages to raw materials and can purchase them at an affordable rate from the Raw material banks set up through the Self Help Groups. However, marketing is still a problem for these artisans. Most of them have to individually seek out retailers and wholesalers who will sell their product, or if they are lucky individual buyers seek them out.

What is R-weaves?

After 4 years of working with artisans along with NIFT in improving their access to affordable credit and developing contemporary designs for more marketable products, Saath has recognised a need to link artisans to markets and also to increase their profits by developing a marketing and retail outlet in Ahmedabad for sale of Tangaliya, Patola and Cotton products.

Patola

Patola is a weave, the raw material used for patolas is traditionally silk. In comparison this Patola is from Patan in Gujarat. However the Patola that we refer to here is the one from Surendranagar district. It is a single ikat (Ikat is the Indonesian word that means knot). Weaving these products is an intensive process that include the entire family from dyeing of the silk threads, marking the design and then the weaving. A saree takes approximately 10-12 days to complete from the very first process of spinning the silk onto a spindle.

The products in Patola have been diversified from traditional sarees to stoles, scarves, cushion covers. Similarly more contemporary designs have been introduced along with the traditional patola weave.

Tangaliya

A product of the Dangasiya community in Surendranagar District, the name originates from the cloth worn traditionally by the Bharwad community’s men (herdsmen), until very recently where it was adapted to the design of the weave, which is unique and labour intensive. Every dot in the design is made by the artisan wrapping yarn around a number of threads, which brings out the design on both sides.

Earlier only wool was used in making products especially shawls, and dhaablas (blankets), this has been expanded to using cotton and making products such as kurti materials, dupattas, cushion covers, napkins, coatis etc.

Best out of Waste

India has always been a land of making the most out of a resource and in a similar effort families in Surendranagar use old sarees to fashion foot mats, rugs, runners, and asans (long mats for seating diners traditionally). This innovation helps use old synthetic sarees and also supports entire families through the income earned.

Hand woven Cotton

In the land of Gandhi, where large machines today manufacture miles of yarn, there are still a few families that weave cotton on wooden looms preparing a blend of soft designs of this cool fabric. The material is sold by the metre, but one can also find sheets and curtains of these.

The Exhibition-Sale will be held:

Date: 6th—8th Aug 2010 (Friday-Sunday)

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 6: 00 p.m.

Venue: “Shree Ramdev Villa”, 1 – A, Aagman Row Houses, Nr. Satatya Heights, Prernatirth Derasar Road Jodhpur Gam,

Ahmedabad – 380 015