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Handlooms as Heritage
It’s a saree from your grandmother, carefully pressed in layers of tissue; a shawl pulled out from a trunk smelling faintly of mothballs; it’s a dupatta that swirls lightly around your ankles, making you feel like an old movie star. Handloom is heritage in the truest way possible, an art that passes from generation to generation — of both its makers and its connoisseurs.
A legacy as old as time, a history deeply rooted in its intricate craftsmanship. According to the Fourth All India Handloom Census, the total number of households in India engaged in handloom activities (weaving and allied activities) is 31.45 lakhs. Moreover, estimates suggest that the handloom sector employs more than 43 lakh people, directly or indirectly, contributing to more than 15% fabric production in the country.
The Indian government has been actively pushing for a boost to this industry, with the hashtag #IWearHandloom tweeted by Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani in 2016 going viral almost right off the bat. This use of social media to spread the message has also encouraged younger generations to adopt and embrace Indian handloom more closely, interacting with the sustainable aspects of this rich tradition.
Buyers can actively influence a larger creative revival for this industry, and cherishing authenticity is part of why we at Craft Maestros work with several master craftspeople to bring the best of Indian handlooms to our customers. Not only can wearing handloom be a new lease of life for the Indian textile handicraft industry, it also enriches its purveyor — giving one a piece of art that can be passed down across generations. These art forms are also sustainable, personal luxury; each one a testament to their maker’s vision.
Travelling through India can be eye-opening, with a treasure of textile legacies in each state in the country, and a variety of techniques — each one wholly unique in what it offers a wearer. Also, even with all their regionally distinctive traits, cross pollination of traditions has made each one more dynamic and lovely. Here at Craft Maestros, the selection ranges from vibrant Banarasi silks to beautifully soft printed Chanderi fabrics and light, handwoven Kota Dorias to Kinnauri shawls and Kutch weaves. We also have a fine selection of handprints like Ajrakh, Dabu, and Shibori to choose from.
Part of why we do this is so that stories of a heritage handloom passed down through generations don’t become rare. Every young person deserves a piece of this shared cultural history, and it is our endeavour to bring this to your homes.