The word Handloom creates endless pictures of motifs, shades, designs and patterns in our head. This is the impact a handloom garment has on our brain. The word handloom is a combination of two words “Hand+Loom” which means a handmade cloth weaved on a shuttle-pit loom made from ropes, wooden beams/bamboo and poles. India is the birthplace of handloom clothes and its beginning can be traced back to the Indus valley civilization.
Handloom is the most eco-friendly type of cloth production which uses just four types of fabrics that nature offers us and the working of its machinery is completely manual and does not require electricity in the production. These fabrics are cotton, silk, wool and jute. Handloom production’s history proclaims that the whole family was involved in the production. The most common product that is produced by the handloom weavers is a saree followed by any type of apparel that can be made from it.
A handloom saree can take at least two-three days in its production. It involves various steps. The first step is the selection of raw material. Once the raw material is selected it is converted into yarn. The yarn is further dyed into various colours. The dyeing is done using natural colours obtained from fruits and vegetables. After the dyeing, the yarn is bobbed, winded and wrapped. This process converts the yarn into thread and further into a thread pattern that the weaver decides. Post this; the sizing of the thread is done. In this, the material is lubricated and strengthened using starch. The material is placed into the loom for dressing and winding. Further, the fabric is weaved in a handloom to create the final product. The best part of this 20 days to 2 months long process is that the final product that is derived is completely skin and nature friendly.
India has always been and is still famous for the vast range of its handlooms designs and types. Different cities are famous for their unique style since the Mughal period. It was during the reign of Mughal emperors that India obtained its distinct position in the trading world due to the vast variety of handlooms. Traders from far of lands like Europe and the Middle East used to come to India to buy our handlooms. Jaipur is famous for its block prints, bandhani, Gota Patti, zari and Kinari. Varanasi is famous for its unique and beautiful Banarsi silk saree and brocade. Surat is known for the silk double ikat woven saree. Lucknow is famous for the beautiful Chikankari. Kota is known for its cotton and silk “Khats” pattern sarees. Maheshwar is renowned for its silk pattern sarees under the name “Maheshwari silk”. Chennai is known for its “Kanchipuram and Zari Silk” sarees.
Benefits of Handloom
A natural thought that acquires you before buying a handloom saree is its cost. But the efforts involved in its production justify its cost. Handloom sarees are a stand-apart on any occasion. The creativity of the weaver is showcased very beautifully in each saree. Another reason to buy a handloom is that its products and dyes are naturally obtained. This exclusive feature makes the material very eco friendly and proves your contribution to the conversation of Mother Nature. Since a handloom saree is made from natural fibres they are not just skin-friendly, but also are durable and can sustain for a very long time.
Handloom is Timeless
The art of handloom is very old, yet it holds a very significant position in the market. It is still considered a royal endeavour to wear a handloom saree in your daily life and on special occasions. Each fabric that the weaver produces is a reflection of his skill and mood. Thus each piece is unique on its own. Just like a painting or an artefact each handloom saree has a story and is a masterpiece in itself.
In today’s era, one should not just use but also promote this art for its timeless qualities.