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.
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.
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.
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.
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.