New Handwoven Textiles from Nagaland – Distinctive Weaves

by - Friday, December 18, 2020


These weavings are from Nagaland in North East India. Nagaland is a mountainous state bordered by the Indian state of Assam and the country of Myanmar.  It is home to 16 hill tribes who weave their distinctive patterns and motifs on back-strap looms.  These are contemporary tribal weavings. Read more about the Nagaland Weavers here.



Your donation will assist in the purchase of the pot itself, transport, preparation and installation. The Maiwa Foundation hopes to remove barriers to authentic artisan work.

The Maiwa Foundations identifies artisans who are enthusiastic to return to traditional methods. Maiwa will purchase and oversee the installation of traditional vats. In addition the Maiwa Foundation provides training in traditional methods as well as trouble shooting and sourcing natural indigo.

Traditionally clay vessels are used that may be anywhere from 3 to 10 feet deep. The deeper vessels require more dye to get started, but they can run longer without removing the sediment (which gradually builds up on the bottom of the vat). Deeper vats can also accommodate lengths of cloth. The vats are buried in packed earth to stabilize the temperature. Sometimes they are surrounded on the outside with goat dung. The dung breaks down (like compost) and acts like a slow-release heater to keep the vat active during the winter.

Traditional dyeing with natural indigo is accomplished through a fermentation vat. This process is difficult (if not impossible) to do in a shallow plastic pan or a metal pot. As with other fermentation processes (wine, beer, bread) the enzymes which drive the process are sensitive to temperature and environmental conditions.

Natural indigo is the famous blue dye used throughout India. The Maiwa Foundation is building infrastructure to encourage the use of natural indigo (derived from plants) rather than synthetic indigo (synthesized from petrochemicals). We are also encouraging the use of a natural fermentation process in dyeing whenever possible.

Read more on the backstory to this project here.

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