THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It has been two years since Saritha J S completed Class XII. Back then, she was clueless about her career. Now, she plays around with colours and prints, creating art on handloom cloth. As many as 40 women are getting special training in organic handweaving and block printing.
The programme by the Scheduled Caste Development Department offers women an opportunity to enter into the world of weaving. Soon a few of them will walk the ramp too, flaunting the couture they create. A fashion show will be held at the end of the three-month programme to attract buyers.
The training programme is being organised by the Haryana-based textile label ‘Reza by Lalita’. Fashion designer Lalita Choudhary and her sister Neethu Singh are helming the programme. The training which began on November 20 was officially launched on Tuesday with Cultural Minister A K Balan inaugurating the programme at the Travancore Textiles Handloom Weaver Co-operative Society, Nemom. The training is being given in weaving and designing using block printing with medicinal and organic dyes. Twenty women are being provided training in block printing and weaving.
Only natural and medicinal plants are used to get the dyes, according to the organisers. “The fabric and the colours are being created organically and it helps avoid skin infections,” says Lalita. Presently, the spices brought from Haryana are being used for creating dyes.
“We are assured of the colour and texture that we can obtain from the spices in Haryana. It needn’t fetch the same tone if they are sourced from the markets and we need spices which aren’t laden with any form of pesticide. So we are presently exploring and experimenting here,” says Neethu.
Block prints are rich and heavily detailed. All the block prints are inspired by Lord Buddha, and so you have a banyan tree, the aura (associated symbols), and Lord Buddha himself being incorporated into the wooden blocks as designs.
The duo says that while the number of weavers in North is on the verge of extinction, in the Kerala context, the strength of the weaver community hasn’t waned. “The focus is on bringing the buyers and giving a fresh touch to the Kerala textile sector by incorporating fresh designs, colours and showcasing them in the international milieu, says Lalita.