KUTCHI WEAVING 

Kutch, Gujarat

The rich and diverse creative traditions of Kachchh (often written as "Kutch") live at the intersection of cultures and communities. . Weavers are closely linked socioeconomically with their local clients, the Ahirs, Rajputs, and Rabaris. The designs woven into Kachchhi woven fabrics were inspired by the communities who wore them, replicating the shapes of musical instruments, the footsteps of an animal herd, etc.

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From morning to dusk, meditatively the music plays on. The spin wheel, the beats of loom and the birds chirping on vocals. Weavers are closely linked socioeconomically with their local clients, the Ahirs, Rajputs, and Rabaris. Each weaver was once personally linked with a Rabari family, who would supply yarn from sheep and goats.  Farming communities like Ahirs cultivated kala cotton, which produced woven textiles for shoulder cloths and headgear. Sheep and goat wool was used for veils, skirts, shawls and blankets. The designs woven into Kachchhi woven fabrics were inspired by the communities who wore them, replicating the shapes of musical instruments, the footsteps of an animal herd, etc. The names for motifs like vakhiyo, chaumukh, satkani, hathi, or dholki are evocative of the rural images. In the 1960’s, cheaper mill made cloth flooded the market and the local market declined. The weavers were forced to look for external clients and shift their practices to fit the demand of larger markets. A group of four enterprising weavers created a Bhujodi Weavers Cooperative which brought together all of the weavers in Bhujodi. Now Bhujodi is a popular tourist destination for weaving, though weavers are spread all over Kachchh.

Today, there are 1200 weavers all across Kutch in
210 villages. The number of women involved in the preparatory and finishing processes is around 2400. Of the 80 looms in Bhujodi, Ramji says the the entrepreneurial Vishramji family owns 35. Four weavers work at their loom, whereas others take orders and specifications of what must be weaved, work from home and return with the end product. Apart from Bhujodi; Vannora, Kota, Jamthara, Sarli, Bhuj, Kadarthi are other villages in Kutch region where weaving happens. Weaving as a process goes around the year apart from the rainy season, when work hits a lean because of practical reasons. Not relying too much on today’s education system, the vankars train their future weavers from a very tender age. Growing around the traditional looms in the household, the kids learn by seeing, even before they develop conscience.

meet the artisans
babu bhai
Babu Bhai: Babu Bhai is 52 and runs a company with 5 of his brothers and their families. His father still travels and goes for textile exhibitions despite his age and health.
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