Most heritage crafts face the threat of fading away as the younger kith and kin are in pursuit of careers outside the traditional confines of the familial craft occupation. In this light, the dhurrie training given to these women by the State Government seems a perfect fit – provides livelihood and perpetuates the heritage craft.
Not far from my parents’ home in Northern Karnataka is the town of Navalgund. It takes its name after the beautiful and plentiful peacocks and peahens the town was abounded with, until a few decades back. The little town is also known for something else, something that still exists : the craft of dhurrie-making.
Threads on a dhurrie loom
‘Dhurrie‘. Even the very sound of it brings comfort to my ears. Something about the way they are woven, the colors; that they keep your feet from cold floors, and add so much beauty, makes me love them even more.
Elements of a dhurrie workshop
The women sit opposite each other on a loom and weave their way through the dhurrie. Since the weaving makes hardly any sound, it seems like a very calming and meditative thing to engage in. Now and then they engage in small talk, but they consistently and very deftly move along their wefts and weaves to create a slow but steady magic of patterns and colours.
Somewhere close to almost finished
Occasionally, they reference a design sheet denoting the color scheme, but it is not hard to tell that what they do required a great sense of numbers, coordination, accuracy, intuition and skill. Nullifying their humble demeanour.
A seamless coordination in progress
This initiative is a proactive and intelligent step in bringing the craft to a threshold where many crafts are today : ceasing to exist.
The craftswomen are beaming, showcasing their collective effort, a colourful masterpiece
The repertoire of motifs in this craft is inspired by nature and surroundings, geometrical patterns and colourful stripes. The Navalgund dhurrie, with its lovely contrast of bright colors woven in cotton threads will make any floor or mood come alive!