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Rang Mahal brings to the city the creations of 250 weavers from Nadia

For 19 years now, even before the Durga Puja festivities die down, Sarmistha Das Biswas and her team at Rang Mahal have been getting ready for a hope-filled pre-Deepavali journey. For, they carry the creations of 250 weaver families from Nadia district in West Bengal, whove found favour with the Chennai sari-wearing audience.

“People here know the value of cotton,” smiles Sarmistha, whos coordinating the exhibition, on at New Woodlands Hotel, R.K. Salai. Shes the fifth generation in a family of weavers, and says shows such as these are a great way to link the weaver and wearer. This time around, five weavers have joined the team, and will be at the venue, explaining their craft.

While keeping alive tradition, the team has also tried to fuse in contemporary thoughts — they blend cotton with organic bamboo and banana fibres to create a fabric that is ultra soft and breathes well.

Travelling has exposed the weavers to new thought processes and preferences too. Sarmistha says that most of them are not very educated, and have learnt spoken English from the Bengal Weavers Service Centre so that they can better interact with customers.

Among the specialities at the exhibition are nakshi tangail saris with colourful borders, hugely popular in Tamil Nadu; jamdani handloom weaves, with detailed work on the pallu; printed Santiniketan cottons; vanya resham or ahimsa silk; and hand-painted saris that replicate the paintings of Jamini Roy and Ganesh Pyne. The best part? All of them can be home-washed.

The weavers have worked for about four months to create this collection of 5,000-odd saris in 550 designs, and customise a colour palette that works well in Tamil Nadu.

“Usually, pastels with vibrant borders do very well here. So, we offer a mix of colour tones,” says Sarmistha. The weavers create patterns on their own, but also take feedback from designers who give them work. This way, their craft improves, she says.

The show is on till October 24 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. They accept only cash payments.



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