* Textile design

The fabric you notice in the image is ambara charaka spun cotton and handwoven way back in 2016 at a large village called Shirahatti in north Karnataka. The azo-free colours blue and red were dyed by Amarappa, at an inconspicuous small hamlet called Shirola. We converted this fabric into womenswear, which was well received.

Stay with me as I am going to try and explain the textile design here.

Generally, the weavers of north Karnataka do not involve in the warping process. Hence, most cooperative societies employ a different person for warping. Mr Kotreshi was this warping person for the Shirahatti co-op society and its five part-time women weavers. And he, being a landless labourer, worked at many farmlands around the village during the day and free for warping only in the evenings.

Our man-Friday Kotreshi used to visit the co-op society every Friday around 8 pm for work. Generally, the textile designs were left to him and the weavers, as I am not a trained designer. If you are imagining that it's the perfect arrangement, hold your horses. There was an issue.

His drinking habits.

The textile design that you see in the image is after his couple of drinks and then deciding to have stripes in alternate blue and red, evenly spaced, and 1/4 inch apart.

Except it's not, and by now, you may have guessed why.

While I was dizzy in love with this Kotreshi-designed fabric, our customers too lapped it up in no time. But, there are days when I wonder if this kind of haphazard stripes is even possible to conceive when sober?

After showing my displeasure and nagging Kotreshi about his drinking habits at work, eventually, both he and the textile design mellowed down. After a couple of years, he left the village for a greener pasture, and we were more than happy for him.

After he left, we neither tried replicating his designs nor replaced him in our thoughts. By then, the women weavers were confident of warping themselves, albeit without his free spirit at aesthetics.

That's the thing about handmade fabric, isn't it? at first glance, it's just a piece of textile, but when you look closer, you see the warp and weft of human ingenuity - caringly woven.

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