Indian Sarees - The Art of Weaving.

Indian sarees are available in different types of fabric, and weaving the Indian sarees is an art. Different types of fabric include silk, cotton, nylon, synthetic, georgette, etc. Hand-woven Indian fabrics have extreme craze and fame across the globe. Different types of sari fabrics are popular in different regions of India, as each region is unique in weaving range of saris. For instance, Varanasi is highly renowned for Banaras Saris and there is no need to explain the popularity of Kanchipuram Silk Saris, which belongs to Tamil Nadu.

Weaving Benarasi Dreams

Weaving is the ancient and traditional art of producing fabrics. It is the process of making textile, exclusively saris, blankets, rugs, etc. However, the art of weaving is entirely associated with saris. For weaving different types of Indian sari, fabric in different types such as cotton, silk, synthetic, wool, nylon, etc need to be used. The history of the weaving Indian saris goes back to ten centuries ago, and this art is quite popular in South India, especially in Tamil Nadu. Weavers in older days used natural grasses, thin wooden strips, palm leaves in weaving the fabric.

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As stated earlier, the weaving is an exclusive form of art; no one masters the art of weaving without having passion towards it. There are hundreds of small villages in India, where the primary and only source of employment is weaving. There are several families that have been working as weavers for generations, where weaving of Indian sarees support their living as well as their only and primary source of income. Weavers can be classified into three types, namely: individual weaver, master weaver and weavers as members of co-operatives. The bitter and intolerable truth about weavers is that they are almost extremely underpaid. If we buy a silk sari worth around Rs.7,000, the revenue earned by the weaver is less than 20% of the cost of the sari.

Individual Indian sarees weavers are the sole proprietors of the sari woven by him or her and they enjoy the entire profits earned on the saris woven by them. Master weavers offer suggestions and tips on adding appropriate designs, color shades, and earn income through daily wages. The most unfortunate workers are the weavers of the cooperative, where the life of those weavers is hard as well as their work conditions, as they suffer a lot with improper facilities. They suffer by input cost, where intermediaries withdraw huge profits.

Weavers of Tamil Nadu have adapted and implemented some unique styles and techniques in weaving the silk saris. The body of the saris is woven separately with the appropriate silk threads. More than six unique patterns of weaving can be used when weaving a single sari. The most popular and intricate method of weaving includes twisting the silk threads and interlocking the threads for weaving. It requires a minimum of four people to weave a single sari. Unfortunately, the most attractive, conventional and unrivalled techniques have been fading away due to cost of labour.

Brief information about the different types of Indian sarees woven in different regions;

Madras Checks is a unique kind of weaving method, adapted by weavers of small villages in Tamil Nadu. They implement this type of weaving in Silk Saris. Punjab villagers are renowned in weaving Phulkari fabric. Andhra Pradesh and Orissa are quite popular in weaving Ikat Fabrics. Weaving in Chanderi pattern is quite common and popular in Madhya Pradesh. With no requirement of introduction, weavers of Jammu and Kashmir have global recognition in weaving pashmina. Similar to unique weaving methods of Kanchipuram silk sari in South India, Banaras Saris are woven adapting different techniques offering kaleidoscope effect.

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Notwithstanding to above, all Indian villages have been highly renowned for producing and weaving the Indian sarees fabric like mulberry silk, tussar silk and muga. Most of the silk saris woven in North India are likely to have influenced by Persian style in the motifs, where south Indian saris have never lose its uniqueness.

Regardless of various types of weaving methods and fabrics, there is always a unique place for Tamil Nadu weaving method, and techniques and the weavers of the State. People’s craze for Tamil Nadu silk saris has an enduring place in the history. One of the legends of India, Tip sultan was highly fascinated and amazed by the traditional and sophisticated weaving techniques and unsurpassed motifs. He facilitated to set up additional weaving centers in several cities of Tamil Nadu and includes Salem, Madurai and Kanchipuram.

Several reports and books on the weavers, different types Indian sarees and appropriate weaving methods of Tamil Nadu state that tradition and weaving practice in the State is completely unique with the range of designs, models and motifs.

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