Posts filed under ‘Arts and Crafts’
BHUBANESWARr: The Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) has decided to offer four of its certificate courses, including computer literacy programme, for free to family members of weavers of two western Odisha villages.
“It will help the weavers develop their skills under the government’s Unnat Bharat Abhiyan,” Ignou Bhubaneswar regional director Dr Abhilash Nayak said following the institution’s East Zone Directors’ Meet, which concluded here on Saturday.
He said the university has already selected two weaver villages – Kantapalli from Sonepur district and Sagarpalli from Bargarh district – and they would be trained regarding the best practices used in their field.
“The courses will also help them opt for the latest practices for enhancement of skills in weaving and designing clothes and dresses,” the regional director added.
“We will also connect the weavers with the government offices through information and communication technology (ICT). They will get an idea about the use of new technology for their betterment through our training,” Nayak explained.
He said his university has decided to provide four certificate courses to members of weavers family. The courses are – computer literacy programme (CLP), bachelor preparatory programme (BPP), NGO management and certificate course on entrepreneurship (CCE). BPP is a unique programme through which a school or college dropout can get a chance to directly enroll in a bachelors degree. The person will have to sit for an entrance test and upon clearing it can join the bachelors programme.
“Those who are interested in availing the benefits will have to enroll their names at their nearest Ignou study centre in both the districts. The certificate courses will be completed within six months,” said Nayak.
The university has also announced fee exemption for scheduled castes and scheduled tribe candidates in undergraduate programmes. “It will also translate subject matters from English to Odia for better understanding of students. These initiatives will also help the family members of weavers,” an Ignou source said. Regional directors of 12 Ignou regional centres functioning in Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand attended the two-day directors’ meet.
Click on the following graphic to see the complete FB album of Padmasri Kunjabihari Meher (Thanks to Saket for uploading the pictures):
The Bomkai saree, one of the traditional sarees of east India are created by the adept artisans who excellently define the tradition and culture of India by the simple work of needle. The traditional figured saree from the southern Orissan coastal plains is the Bomkai saree. This saree is named after the vilaage where it was discovered in early 1980s.
Sonepur is located in the western part of Orissa. Sonepur hand loom woven sarees and dress material are known for their unique “Bomkai” designs locally known as “Bandha” design. This Bomkai design on the fabric (especially on Sarees) is developed by using Jala technique on handloom.
HISTORY OF BOMKAI SAREE
The art of weaving has been existing in this part of Orissa since 600 B.C. The scriptures in the caves of Khandagiri reveal this. By late 1980s, this hand loom cluster had begun specializing in silk weaving especially the Bomkai design (locally known as Bandha Design) without using any extra shedding mechanism like Jacquard and Dobby.
The artisan of the locality used to create Bomkai sarees since the commencement period of the fabric. It was originally made for the local maharaja, aristocracy and Bhramins of the chikiti tahsilm of the ganjam district.
PROCESS AND TECHNIQUE
The Bomkai design both the warp and weft is dyed according to the requirement. For border design, warp alone is processed, while for Palavas and anchal of sarees, weft is processed and overall saree designs, both the warp and weft are processed.
Orissa still uses the traditional jaalas for weaving Bomkai. Wooden jaalas are used and are tied the traditional way by jaala bandhaks (weavers). The technique is in itself a furthering of the tie and dye technique. In case of Bomkai, the yarn is tie dyed but the focus is not on patterns which emerge out of tying and dyeing. It is used to get the contrast colours in the saree. So, a pallav or border may have a solid dyed block or can be double shaded. The ornamentation is worked using the extra weft technique or jaala system which gives the tapestry that kind of look. The borders are woven using what most weavers refer to as phool bandhaks which flow on the designs on the border. The double shades of the saree, the border and the pallavs are worked on the basis of colour combinations. Once the dyed yarn is fitted in the pattern is worked using extra weft technique. This gives saree an almost woven, carpet like effect.
Recent innovations include the introduction of zari threads in weaving. While earlier the entire design was done in thread work with cotton or silk yarn as the fabric base. Nowadays, the saris are woven in both cotton and silk with brilliantly created angular discontinuous supplementary-weft patterns woven in the end-piece in contrasring colours.
The Bomkai cotton saris have been influenced by tribal art, and are embroidered with temple spire patterns on the border.
Bomkai sarees feature threadwork ornament borders. The supplementary bands are not woven in progressive order from large to small or vice versa, but are woven according to the choice of the weaver. Yet despite all the work in the endpiece, it is the supplementary – wrap patterns of the border that give these sarees their name. Some of border motifs are:
• MITKTA PANJI A broad band of supplementary-wrap patterning called the “ mitkta panji”, forming a latticework of small diamond shapes is the most popular border.
• TEMPLE A row of temple spires which pretty much look like triangles is also a signature border of bomkai sarees.
• KUMBHA A row of kumbha spires is favourite border motifs.
• RUDRAKSHA The motifs in the borders include ubiquitous rudraksha or bead motifs.
• FLORAL The florals and even plain bootis are also found.
Bomkai patterns are hand woven from gold or silver colored silk threads. They embellish pallu of a saree. The sarees are brilliantly created with angular discountinous supplementary-weft patterns adhere to the traditional tribal motif of orissa, which includes geometric designs, birds, elephant and flowers. Other patters have such names as rukha (pestle, stick), dombaru (small hourglass-shaped drum), kanthi phoola (small flower) and karela (bitter gourd), shankha, peacock and fish.
FLAURA AND FAUNA
The motifs used are kanthiphula, Atasi flower, lotus and flies, birds, peacock, fish, elephants, ducks etc. in geometrical forms.
PEACOCK – It represents a symbol of rebirth in the mythology of Hinduism, Buddhism and islam. In Hinduism, the image of the god of thunder, rains and war – Indra- is depicted in form of peacock. In India, it is also a symbol of love.
FISH – It symbolizes prosperity and good health
CHARACTERISTIC AND UNIQUENESS
The speciality of bomkai is the contrast border and heavy designs on the pallavs, while the blouses are again in contrast colours. Since, oriya sarees have close relation with jagannath culture, the four basic colours which commonly found on jagannath – black, white, red and yellow – is extensively used in oriya sarees and Bomkai is no exception.
It is the design and colour palette that makes Bomkai stand out. The vibrancy of colour combination especially contrst colours are rarely seen elsewhere. Double shaded borders vie with single solid colour borders and this is the signature of Bomkai sarees.
The contrast colours are beautiful such as yellow interspersed with black and a green border or peacock blue competing with golden border.the borders and pallav can be doubl shaded. It is the sheer contrast and eye catching colours which stand out such as grey teamed with a brilliant red, black with glazing golden border and pallav.
Few more links to Sonepuri Saree:
Bhubaneswar, May 27: The state-run handloom industry is struggling for survival and lags behind in popularising the indigenous patterns and fabrics of Odisha whereas private players are doing roaring business.
The plight of weavers, who cater to government textile organisations and many of who have quit their hereditary profession in the past few years because of financial pressures, reflects the fact.
Sonepur, the hub of Sambalpuri textile materials in western Odisha, is home to at least 50,000 weavers. But, absence of an organised market has pushed them into a state of misery. The weavers’ co-operative society, which used to look after the community, is now non-existent in Sonepur while the Odisha State Handloom Development Corporation has been shut down since 2001 and its 500-odd employees continue to struggle for their outstanding wages.
The condition of weavers in Sambalpur district is no better. Lack of proper support from the government and the soaring price of yarn have forced several weavers to quit their traditional profession. “The number of weavers in the state has decreased remarkably. Several weavers are quitting their traditional profession,” said Manabhanjan Meher, advisor to the local weavers’ society, Nikhila Odisha Meher (Bhulia) Samaj.
“One cannot think of supporting his family by weaving alone now. Hence, several weavers are giving up their traditional profession. There were 40 looms at Badbazar. But, a majority of the weavers gave up this profession. Now, there are only three looms at Badbazar,” he added. The government should take steps for controlling the price of the yarn to save the weavers, he said.
The state handloom and textile department said Odisha had 43,652 looms being run by 1,92,339 weavers. Of them, 86,355 weavers operate under 526 weaver co-operative societies and 18,154 are organised under the 1,511 self-help groups.
The weavers, who are not covered under co-operative societies, find it hard to run the profession because of inadequate wages, rise in price of yarn and absence of an organised market.
“I have to depend upon the sahukars (intermediate tradesmen), who supply me with the raw materials such as yarn, dye, and later in turn, take away the finished product from me. While the sahukars enjoy good profit by selling the product, I am paid a meagre wage,” said Parameswar Meher, a weaver of Ranipur village in Sonepur. Parameswar said the wage he got was meagre considering the fact that it took at least 15 to 20 days to weave a sari. “All my family members are engaged when I weave a sari. It takes at least 15 to 20 days to weave a sari and I get only about Rs 2,000 as my wage,” he said.
Rama Meher, another weaver of Kendupali village in Sonepur said it was difficult for him to run his family with the weaving profession. “I have to look for something else now to feed my family since our ancient profession of weaving is not enough for a livelihood. Many in the village have already quit the profession and are doing better as skilled labourers,” he said.
Internationally acclaimed Padmashree Chaturbhuj Meher, who established the well-known handloom store Meher’s that has among its clients President Pratibha Patil, film star Jaya Bacchan and many international cricketers, said the Sambalpuri textile had a huge market. But, there had to be right policies by the government to develop this market, he said.
“With the adoption of new technology such as the Jacquard loom, the weavers now weave more exquisite textile materials, but they don’t get the right price for it. While the independent weavers have to market their product themselves by travelling to the big cities, the others, who are not financially sound, have to depend upon the sahukars who exploit them,” he said.
Management head of the Meher’s Gouranga Patra said the government-run handloom organisation Utkalika was the reason behind quitting of weaving by around 300 artisans.
“It was doing good business, but in the 80’s, the management there was corrupt and they did not repay the weavers, who had taken huge loans to give Utkalika their consignments. This caused a permanent damage to the handloom industry in the state,” sai Patra.
He said the government could take up initiatives in giving weavers promotion to improve the scenario. “Once a weaver has expertise at a certain design or pattern, he should be given promotion by being assigned to work on a more intricate design and a costlier fabric, so he ultimately earns more and also acquires skills. We have around 3,000 weavers working for us this way and they are doing very well economically,” he said.
Last year, the department of handloom invited well-known designers from all over the country to promote the patterns of Odisha at their fashion shows. But, there are other important things to be looked at, feel experts.
“What our handloom industry needs now is better marketing strategies and design innovations. We could experiment with our patterns and add more creativity to suit the international market. Our silk and cotton fabrics are so rich that there is great demand of the Odisha fabric throughout the world. We must capitalise on it. I use it in my creations and get great response world over,” said well-known fashion designer Pritam Panda.
Officials of the state handloom and textile department said the state government was taking all steps for the development of the handloom units and weavers. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has announced a special package for the handloom weavers that includes infrastructure development, capacity building of the weavers, intervention of modern technologies and marketing promotion. Naveen will inaugurate an exhibition of Odisha handloom products in London next week to showcase fabrics from the state.
“The handlooms production in Odisha during 2011-12 was to the tune of Rs 180 crore because of sustained efforts of the state government,” said a senior official.
Two major co-operative bodies — the Odisha State Handloom Weavers Co-operative Society (popularly known as Boyanika) and Sambalpuri Vastralaya — have significantly improved their performance. The sales turn over of Boyanika was Rs 52.62 crore in 2011-12 and it earned a profit of Rs 1.13 crore in 2010-11. Similarly, Sambalpuri Vastralaya had made a turn over to the tune of Rs 20 crore in the same year, said the official.
As Odisha’s textile products are facing the problem of duplicated products outside the state, the government has registered two textile items (Odisha ikat and Kotpad handloom fabrics) with the Geographical Indication Registry (kind of patenting at Chennai under the Union commerce ministry.
Five more indigenous and exclusive products of Odisha — Sambalpuri bandha, Sonepuri Bomkai, Dhalapathar screen, Habaspuri sari and Berhampuri patta and jodo — were in the pipeline, said the officials.
BHAWANIPATNA: The painstaking efforts and creativity of Chicheguda weavers make every Habaspuri saree produced here a special piece.
Mostly done in cotton, traditional designs of Kandha tribes like Kumbha (temple), fish and flowers are woven into the sarees.Home to 30 weaver families, Chicheguda village has been instrumental in reviving the Habaspuri handloom which was originally woven in Habaspur village of Kalahandi district during the 19th century.
With the decline of dynasty rule, the pattern of weave too passed into oblivion. However, it was revived by master weaver Ugrasen Meher in Chicheguda. One of the many high profile people wearing the Habaspuri sarees includes Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Subsequently, the government formed the Chicheguda handloom cooperative society to look into training of weavers and marketing of the final products.
However, weavers of the village said even as steps have been taken to revive the Habaspuri weave, a lot more needs to be done for skill upgradation at regular intervals and providing marketing opportunities to them. They also demanded speeding up of the process for geographical indication, copyrights and design patent of the Habaspuri design which has already been delayed by over a year.
The Assistant Director of Textiles Lingaraj Rath said all formalities have been completed to grant the Geographical Index registration to the Chicheguda handloom cooperative society.
He said the department is contemplating to provide crash courses to weavers in producing products in Habaspuri design like bed spreads, table mats apart from saree.
There are also plans to improve weaving methods to increase the productivity. Rath added that all possible steps are being taken to popularise the traditional fabric.
BHUBANESWAR: Despite having finest designs and tremendous market potential, bottlenecks such as low productivity, decentralised production and lack of aggressive marketing strategies have come in the way of the State’s handloom sector. This notwithstanding, the handloom sector has the largest rural self-employment potential next to agriculture in the State. Odisha is home to around 1.30 lakh artisans and two lakh weavers. To give a boost to the sector and address the shortcomings, the State Government has initiated a series of special measures.
The Government is helping the sector by developing clusters, through group approach and by providing financial and infrastructure assistance among others. As per the State Plan for Promotion of Handloom Sector, the Textile and Handloom Department has started providing 100 per cent infrastructure assistance and 90 per cent financial aid for technological interventions to the weavers. The Government has also implemented a Centrally-sponsored scheme __ Integrated Handloom Development Scheme. It aims at facilitating sustainable development of handloom weavers, located in identified handloom clusters, into a cohesive, self- managing and competitive group. Under the Scheme, the Department has taken up cluster development approach that focuses on formation of weavers’ groups as a visible entity so that the groups become self-sustainable. Of the 52 clusters identified in the country in the last three years, the Centre has approved the highest number of 35 clusters in the State. Each cluster covers 300 to 500 handlooms. Another initiative under the Scheme is group approach to help handloom weavers who are not covered by clusters.
The Centre has so far recognised 91 such groups in the State. Sources said steps are being taken to set up a Sambalpuri Ikat Handloom Park in Bargarh district which has the biggest handloom cluster in the State. The park is reportedly coming up on Bijepur-Barpali route and as many as 100 stakeholders, mostly comprising master weavers, have joined hands for the project. This would help in capacity building of the weavers and also teach weaving to the people of non-weaver communities. “This apart, we have a design studio coming up near SIDAC complex at Gandamunda here and efforts are also on to set up a handloom and handicraft museum in the City,” said Director of Textiles B C Mohapatra while talking to this paper.
Gudbhelipadar Village in Orissa’s Bouda District is today known for its dozens of coppersmith families who have gained popularity for their copper snakes used in different parts of the country.
Each of these over forty families takes pride in the fact that it has been successful at carrying forward a legacy despite all odds. Irrespective of financial crunch and no support from the local government agencies, the families here lead a content life.
These coppersmith families belong to Maharana caste and locally known as “Meher”. They have been involved in this work of making copper snakes since ages. All these years, these families have cherished a dream to keep the ancestral art alive.
Rajesh Sahu, one of the artists said: “All our forefathers were involved in this work. We have learnt it from them and since then we are doing it. We earn our livelihood by doing this work. The Government has not provided any help in marketing our products. We do not get any loan to expand our activities. Department of Handicrafts is also not helping us.”
Praful Kumar, another artisan, said: “First, we cut the copper sheet in different body parts of snake, we heat them up. After that, we bend the copper from where we want to and at that time we need lead. We bend it using lead and give it final look.”
Snakes prepared in this village have been placed in various famous temples. Besides various parts of Orissa, these snakes are sent to various places like Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and various places in Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.
But these coppersmith families are perturbed to see the consistently rising cost of goods required for their art. They work tirelessly but often failed to draw equally handsome returns as per labour involved.
Most of these Meher families admit that to sustain on modest incomes is now very difficult.
Prashant Kumar, another artist, said: Despite our repeated appeals, nobody is paying attention to our condition. Nobody is coming to us. They are not even doing unification of any cooperative society. Once government agency starts buying our goods directly, we can save a lot of money. On the other hand, the rates of copper and lead have gone high.”
But despite all odds, these coppersmith families are happy to think that the copper snakes made by them are used at various temples on the Shivaling (the phallic symbol). (ANI)