Some cloth, some stone and a bit of metal

The ‘cloth’ part of The Cloth and Stone Tour has been well covered with visits to various artisans, and along the way, some ‘stones’ were also found. And a bit of metal for good measure.

Around Sayla village where we stayed in the local royal family’s guesthouse, a gently aging remnant of another time, we visited a family who carry on the dying art of Tangaliya weaving, where the pattern of tiny dots is made by introducing a contrasting thread and making a knot around the warp thread for each dot. The resulting pattern looks like it has been made from tiny beads introduced to the weave.


Tangaliya weaving


The master weaver of Tangaliya weaving modelling his master piece.


Tangaliya weaver tying a tiny knot in a different colour over the weft threads. The partly completed shawl is shown beneath his arms.


We also visited a family who weave with beads – a tradition going back centuries in this area.  Tiny glass beads are woven together to make dowry items like household decorations.


Naina Mansibhai showing one of her pieces of woven beadwork or moti kam


The beadwork ladies


The lovely front yard of the beadworker’s house

In the same village, we visited a patola (single ikat) weaver. The patterns in ikat weaving are formed by dying the threads in pre-determined patterns by binding bundles of the weft threads and dying the unbound sections. The calculations are so fine that quite intricate patterns emerge as the cloth is woven.


A traditional patola design – single ikat


Closeup of the weaving showing the dyed weft thread that creates the pattern.


The ikat weaver with his master piece with a modern design taken from one of the carved stone jali (screens) at Sidi Sayeed mosque in Ahmedabad.

India is the land of the unpredictable, and every day throws up challenges and delights in random order. So, when we emerged from the weaver’s house, we were invited to visit a wedding for two couples in progress in the village. As very few foreigners ever find their way here, we were feted like film stars.

We met the shy young grooms and were mobbed by wedding guests wanting pics with the pink ladies. When we were ushered into the room where the even shyer brides were waiting, dressed in their red saris, lots of gold jewellery and henna patterned hands, a whole lot of guys crowded in after us wanting more pics. Feeling claustrophobic in the tiny room with too many people inside, I promised more pics if they all moved outside. Which we did. We finally escaped the mob and headed to our next destination.


Young wedding guests posing for us.


The young grooms in the red turbans being eclipsed by the ‘pink’ ladies.


The wedding car.

Moving on, we were taken to visit a street of bandeneh (tie and die) artisans, and a street of metal workers bashing out brass water pots by hand.


Lady sitting at her front door catching some winter sunshine as she ties tiny knots in the marked out pattern. After dying, the knots will be removed to reveal white dots.


A bundle of freshly dyed bandeneh cloth


Dying the tied cloth.


Metal worker crafting the top of a water pot.


A nearly completed brass water por.


Nearly finished. Next step is polishing.


A barrow load of finished brass pots off to the market.

More soon……..

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