Deccan Herald, Jan 2016

With each lap the Industrial Revolution makes, the lines between machine and human wear thin. A once respected artisan morphs into a labourer and then, an operator. Soon, only wisps of a human touch will remain.

But Gunjan Jain, a designer at ‘Vriksh’, an alternate design studio that works solely with handloom weavers and natural materials of Odisha, doesn’t think it’s time yet for such a disappearing act.

In an effort to explore and revive the rich textile tradition of Odisha, she is touring the country, talking about the different fabrics and weaves of the state. The discussion, titled ‘Odisha – Beyond Ikat’, elaborates on the numerous handloom techniques that exist within Odisha.

“Odisha is a unique state where almost every district offers a different type of handloom. So, this talk and exhibition are an attempt to share the treasure trove of the state’s textile industry, beyond Sambalpuri ikats,” she says.

In mainstream thought, Odisha is associated with Sambalpuri ikats but there are many more weaves, like bomkai and jala tussar silks, that are just as beautiful.

“There’s this notion, especially outside the state, that Odisha textile means Sambalpuri ikat, but that’s only one part of it. In my talk, I’ll be mapping the textile areas and their historical and cultural significance.”

Gunjan says that these weaves and fabrics are popular not just because they are beautiful, but also for their cultural roots.

deccan herald

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