|Contributor: Alida Latham
Photos by Alida Latham 2002
Text by Malathi Ramaswamy
Crafts in India run in the family.....one generation to the next. It has been so from time immemorial! People are identified by the crafts they pursue.
When one is born in this tradition, it runs in ones blood and craft becomes a passion. Weaving can be monotonous but the Indian weavers derive great pleasure in weaving for they revive old patterns, honoring their elders and innovate new ones for future generations! Colors of the year are introduced by them.
Very attentive over the warp and weft....be it cotton or silk, not one thread will be snapped, not one pattern shifted....the back and the front will be neat and perfect. The finished product impeccable!. The money that is earned is incidental for the cost can never be equated with the labor of love and details showered on the hand weaving done with devotion!
All the members of the family are involved in the craft. It is a family business and a tradition!
Some in dyeing the yarn and drying it, some in applying starch, some in reeling... it is a family craft and enterprise!
The entire area of the home is covered with a couple or more of frame or pit looms, yarn being dried, reeling and weaving being done from morning till evening or till the work is done! Normally women reel the yarn. May be the lady reeling the yarn is the mother of the weaver!
After the weaving is done for the day, the area is swept, food is distributed, place cleaned, after which mats are rolled out and people sleep!
Modern Art? One step better! Unique Wall paintings. Unschooled! The wall is plastered with smooth cow dung and then designs - geometrical and floral drawn with rice powder paste... carefully and meticulously. The pattern is in the mind and takes shape on the wall....the house is decorated very pleasingly.. As the weave is perfect, so are the rice patterns on the wall!
Friends and neighbours walk in .... common all over India. No need to be invited for they are the support system!
A full earthern pot decorated and with mango leaves and a coconut on top, with a fish on either side of the pot. This is a symboi of good luck and fortune in almost all parts of India. May these pictures shower fortune on you!