“She who works with her hands, head and heart is a craftsperson…. ”
Rangsutra works with traditional craft skills possessed and practiced by communities to ensure regular employment for craftspeople and their groups in their villages itself.
Embroidery is the craft of embellishing textile or other materials with traditional motifs, which are usually geometrical, floral or inspired by nature and surroundings. The colours are traditionally very bright and the thread can be cotton, silk, wool or even metal wire. The history of embroidery dates back to 200-300 BC. In the medieval Islamic world embroidery was an important art.
Rangsutra presently works with embroidery artisans in Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Barmer districts of Western Rajasthan. The community migrated from Pakistan during the war of 1971 and settled in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The prevalent embroidery techniques in this area are – soof, pakka, kambiri, kharak, kachcha and sindhi.
Applique is a craft technique of adorning the base fabric by patching small and patterned fabric pieces on the top of it. It is similar to patchwork and is a highly laborious craft. Usually, layers of fabric are laid down and then marked with different patterns – they could be floral, geometrical or even narrative, and then cut. The patches are subsequently stitched on the base fabric to bring forth the wonderful patterns. The base fabric and the patched fabric can be of same color or of contrasting colors.
Applique artisans belong to a community that migrated from Pakistan during the war of 1971 and settled in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Presently most of the applique work is done in the Barmer district of Western Rajasthan.
Extra Weft Weaving
This technique of weaving with an additional weft is characterized by the extra weft which is not included in the woven structure but is placed by the weaver. The Interlocking technique produces a pure band of colour. The bobbin which runs the thread horizontally is the same colour as the threads running vertically. The threads are interlocked using the pedal system which ensures the production of a strong cloth. Most weavers in Phalodi region use the pit (treadle) loom, which is useful using minimal wood.
Fabric is woven on a frame loom, keeping in mind the layout or placement of stripes carefully worked out in advance as per the garment to be constructed. Engineered stripes on the garment could be warp based, weft based or both. Napasar village in Bikaner, which is known for its weaving, houses Rangsutra’s handloom cluster.
Tie and Dye
Bandhej or Bandhani (tie and dye) is a traditional fabric dyeing practice. Different regions have different variants of tie and dye. The basic technique is that the fabric is tied in certain patterns by using a special needle worn as a ring or a long nail. Tying is mostly done by women. After tying, the fabric is dipped in dye. The tied part resists the dye in specific pattern and when untied it reveals it’s exquisitely beautiful colors and patterns.
We work with traditional artisans who have practiced this craft for generations. Traditionally bright colours such as blue, green, red and orange are used. The number of colours may vary from 2 to 5. The most prevalent patterns are Boondi, Shibori and Lahariya.