East of Hyderabad

by - Saturday, February 19, 2011

Out in the street a giant brush is used to starch the warps. 
The Maiwa team is now in the south of India. Once we leave Hyderabad we are off the tourist routes and our pauses for chai, dosa, or coconut water create a bit of a sensation. Our first stop is to visit one of the masterclass workshop participants, Shrinath, who barely had time to return from the masterclass before our rendezvous.

Weaving an ikat - each throw of the shuttle is adjusted by hand.
Ikat weaver Mr. Ram Das, very proud of his work.
Shrinath is guiding the production of naturally dyed ikat. His fabrics can be found in our main store and his yardage can be found in Maiwa Supply. We also use ikat fabric to make shirts. Augustus Prew, who plays Alistair Wooley in the film Charlie St. Cloud (filmed in Gibsons, BC) can be seen wearing one of our ikat shirts in the movie and the special features interview on the DVD. 

Close up - recycled bicycle inner tubes make perfect ties and are in plentiful supply.

Tying the weft - skilled hands work very quickly.

When we arrive Shrinath's family are doing lac dying. The wefts are measured on a weft board and then tied to resist the dye. Full details of this technique are shown with explanations in our weaving documentary, Tana Bana: Wisdom of the Loom.

As we continue east from Hyderabad we encouter Mangalagiri. Just at dusk we find the stuff of weaver’s dreams: warps of silk being starched in the street with metre-wide brushes. 

Walking back with the warp brush. 
Catharine Ellis who is travelling with us says, "I didn’t believe that this actually happened. I can’t believe what I am seeing." Imagine turning the corner into your lane and finding the way blocked, not by road hockey or cricket, but by thirty meters of warp threads being prepared for the loom.

The women are clearly proud of their work. They ask us to try handling the huge brushes but we don’t have the skill that they do. There are many laughs and giggles as they are unimpressed with how lightly we push the brush.

Maiwa staff are invited to try starching the warp. "My god, these brushes are heavy!"
As we take the last photos the sun slips below the horizon and the day is over. Tomorrow we will be looking for Kalimkari blockprinting.

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  1. oh, the Ikat weaves of Andhra...sigh...
    can't wait for the Kalamkari and the natural dyeing post! Seems like you guys are having a blast there! South of India is awesome indeed! :)


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