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Celebrate Ilkal weaves and Chikan motifs

  What: In a bid to showcase artisan co-design, 19 weavers and embroiderers from Bagalkot district (Karnataka), Lucknow and Kutch have collaborated for Sambhavna Express, a three-day exhibition-cum-sale, starting today. It is presented by Gujarat-based Somaiya Kala Vidya (SKV), a division of KJ Somaiya Gujarat Trust. Ranging from `1,500 to `40,000, the works include handcrafted Ilkal saris of Bagalkot featuring kondi technique (weaving silk warp for pallav with cotton warp for body), kurtas, stoles and dupattas with hand-drawn Chikan motifs on Bhujodi handloom cotton, silk and Chanderi fabrics as well as traditional Suf embroideries with Jali work.

A black-and-red Ilkal sari from Bagalkot created using kondi technique
A black-and-red Ilkal sari from Bagalkot created using kondi technique

How: The co-design was possible through SKV’s artisan-to-artisan outreach programme that began in 2014, where artisan graduates from the centre (they conduct design and business courses) reached out to weavers from Bagalkot and embroiderers from Lucknow. Through eight modules conducted over six weeks, the artisans were mentored on how to innovate within their existing traditions, with a practical focus on the market. “We look for motivated artisans who are keen to take a risk. The idea is to make them independent. Weavers are mentored in their own region and language. We toured with the Chikan embroiderers in Lucknow to gain inspiration from the architecture; it is visible in their hand-drawn motifs,” says founder-director Judy Frater.

A Khadi dupatta with traditional Suf embroidery
A Khadi dupatta with traditional Suf embroidery

A block printed cotton stole by a  Bhujodi weaver
A block printed cotton stole by a Bhujodi weaver

Where: This evening, Frater will present an illustrated talk on the project. Also, watch daily presentations by Bagalkot and Bhujodi weavers.

Chikan embroiderers in Lucknow during a session with mentors from Somaiya Kala Vidya
Chikan embroiderers in Lucknow during a session with mentors from Somaiya Kala Vidya

Bagalkot artisans learn the technique of colour weaving
Bagalkot artisans learn the technique of colour weaving

Till: October 31, 11 am to 7 pm (talk: 6 pm to 8 pm; presentations:  4 pm to 5 pm) 
At: 52-56 Dr V B Gandhi Marg, Rhythm House Lane, Kala Ghoda.

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