JAMDANI May 04 2016
I am so excited to share the story behind my Resort collection and my use of hand loom, one of a kind garments made from Jamdani saris. See below to understand the amazing story behind Jamdani and how it is made.
The rare and precious art of weaving the Jamdani Sari
Jamdani is the finest sheer cotton fabric known as muslin, with vivid patterns and rich motifs, made by artisans using hand looms using the discontinuous weft technique. The rare and precious art of weaving Jamdani relates to the time consuming and labor intensive process made by the hand loom a woven fabric made of the finest locally grown cotton - which was previously only affordable by aristocrats and royal families, nowadays it is made almost exclusively for Sari’s due to the time consuming and labour intensive production process.
How it is Made
The Jamdani Sari is tapestry work, woven so feather light and delicately beautiful. The creation of Jamdani fabric is incredibly time consuming and arduous, requiring collaboration between specialized artisans, working in alignment with the monsoon season to create 1 single and unique Sari over 3 to 4 months. Often the Sari's are created by a community of artisans, typically a family of weavers or dyers working under the strict eye of traditions and teachings passed down from generations, with the master weaver usually being a man.The beauty of each individual piece lies in that the weaver uses no specific artwork rather than his/her imagination to create the piece – and it is not sketched or outlined on the fabric, meaning no two pieces will ever be the same. Traditionally woven on the brocade loom, the supplementary weft technique of weaving, where the artistic motifs are produced by a non-structural weft produces a myriad of vibrant patterns that appear to float on a shimmering surface. Due to the complexity and time required to create each individual piece, it is nearly impossible to have Artisans create Jamdhani in any other length than that of a Sari.
The decline of Jamdani
From the middle of the 19th century, there has been a gradual decline in the Jamdani industry drive by a number of factors. The gradual decline of the Mughal empire in India deprived the producers of Jamdani of their most influential patrons. In addition to which the subsequent import of lower quality, cheaper yarn from Europe, saw once famous Jamdani villages like Madhurapur and Jangalbari, (both in the Kishoreganj district), slip into gradual oblivion. As demand for the Sari's has dried up, artisans have been forced to turn to other trades and more mass market Garment Industry jobs, which are often better paying and more available. The family/community led traditions of passing down the ancient art of Jamdani weaving is slipping away meaning the artisanal based skill and tradition of Jamdani creation is at risk of becoming a lost art.
Rebirth of Jamdani
Based on my love of all things ancient, Indian, and traditional - I have worked with local artists, cooperatives, and families to create and source these fabrics to support, showcase, and importantly support and pay homage to the artisans who live and make Jamdani fabric possible. By focusing my Resort line around Jamdani fabrics, I am attempting to support their trade and craft, and hope to allow them to build a sustainable lifestyle and continue a craft that has often been in their family for generations.
Through working with Artisans I have created truly unique and incredible pieces - and I hope you get the chance to enjoy them...