Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Artisan's Alliance of Jawaja - Meet the Weavers

Making a luxurious spread on the stone floor, Okar Lal Meghwal and Bhavari Devi Meghwal
 visit while sitting on a Jawaja flatweave in natural colours.
Many of you know the Artisan's Alliance of Jawaja (AAJ) for the leatherworkers. But there is another group behind AAJ that we'd like you to meet - the weavers. Our team (who recently arrived in India) drove the three hours from Bagur to visit both groups.



Okar Lal Meghwal sits at his loom.

Above, the AAJ weavers representative Okar Lal Meghwal, works on his loom. It barely fits into the room. It maxes out the width of this particular machine, producing carpets that are approximately six feet wide. Weaving is a slow process, here the weaver works every pick and beats it to get the tightest weave that the yarns permit.
  

We have been working with the leatherworkers for about 18 years, and at every meeting the weavers very politely request that we carry and sell the carpets. On our visit last year, we were so impressed with the renewed vitality of these works that we placed our first order: over one hundred pieces. The use of colour has become more harmonious and sophisticated. They are tightly woven from uncoloured wools and some dyed colours. The wool is unusual in that it does not have as much oil as that of sheep from more damp climates. Michel Garcia was very interested and purchased a number of skeins to experiment with. Of particular interest were the yarns which were a natural light yellow colour. Most European breeds are bred to eliminate this shade.



Above. Mhavari Devi Meghwal, Naine Devi Meghwal, and Lali Devi Meghwal
women members of the Artisan's Alliance of Jawaja

The carpets are made entirely in the home. Generally, the men weave and the women prepare the yarns. Above, the women wind skeins onto bobbins for either the warp or weft. As we had weaving instructor Jane Stafford with us (who was very excited about the carpets) we asked her for the run down on them. She said: "These carpets are a beautiful example of weft faced boundweave and clasped weft colour placement." 


A stack of Jawaja flatweaves labeled and ready to go.

Stacked in a variety of colours, our first shipment is at Maiwa East.

These are our first shipment of Jawaja carpets to arrive at Maiwa East
We have some in a number of styles and colours. They range in price from $149 - 198.







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