HYDERABAD: To thrive, sometimes even survive, value-addition to handloom sarees has become the key due to the ever-changing fashion and consumer behaviour in the textile sector. To be relevant, textile businessmen have been trying new designs and weaves. At the same time, finding the right skills to cater to the demand is crucial.
To bridge the two needs, and to save the historically significant Kalamkari art which is native to Srikalahasti, the Narayanpet district administration has been imparting training to women in the rare art form, at the same time helping them achieve financial independence.
“I had been leading my life as a homemaker after pursuing my post-graduation and getting married. After seeing the advertisement that the district administration was going to train women in Kalamkari art, I was pretty excited. Today, I’m getting orders to prepare natural colours, paint the designs and add value to the sarees by working from home, and of course making money,” said Aruna Chillal, one of the trainees of the first batch.
To make this happen, Narayanpet Collector D Hari Chandana roped in Ghan Shyam Sarode, a handloom sarees businessman, NABARD, district rural development agency, and trainers from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Hyderabad. Together, they train women in Kalamkari art.
The preparation by itself is quite intriguing. The procedure involves preparing the cloth for Kalamkari painting, preparation of Kasim (black solution for drawing the design), preparation of natural colours. All this is done using naturally available ingredients like myrobalan, cow milk, jaggery, black jaggery, rusted iron, marigold and myrobalan flowers, pomegranate and lemon peels, and so on.
“It can take a week or two to design Kalamkari on a saree, and about three days to design it on a chunni. A designed and painted saree may fetch anywhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh in the retail market,” says Deepika, a post-graduate from NIFT, who has been training the women in Kalamkari art.
The first batch of women have already started receiving orders from Ghan Shyam’s company. They are given sa-rees to be designed and they pay the trained designers for the type and amount of work -- whether it is preparing natural colours, designing Kasim, or other steps of the process.Inspired by the initiative, many women have joined the second batch of training presently in progress.
“There is good demand for Kalamkari sarees and chunnis among both elders and children. It adds value to the clothes because of the attractive designs and natural colours. As Narayanpet is famous for handloom sarees, we wanted to add value to these sarees, at the same time preserve the art form, and make these women financially independent,” Hari Chandana told Express.