Monday, 17 August 2020

Photo essay: The colourful world of sari-making in Chennai

Chennai has always been famed for its silk saris. A long piece of unstitched fabric (measuring between 4.5 to 8m), the sari is worn wrapped around the waist and hips, then taken across the chest and thrown over one shoulder. Each state or region in India has its own unique style, varying in the patterns, fabrics, colours and textures. Chennai is famous for the heavy and lustrous Kanjeevaram or Kanchipuram saris, named after the town where they are made. Created using fine mulberry silk and zari (gold thread), the handwoven Kanjeevaram saris often feature bright colours, big borders and patterns such as checks, stripes and buttas (motifs).

Despite the sari’s undisputed beauty, the relative convenience of Western silhouettes have reduced the number of young women wearing them on a daily basis, with many reaching out for saris only during weddings or festivals.

However, in recent years, saris have been making a comeback, especially in the cities. Worn with crop tops, t-shirts and even paired with sneakers, the sari is seeing a revival that’s fun, quirky and long overdue

Dye Chennai Silkwinds
The silk skeins come from silkworm farms across Tamil Nadu. Acid dyes are used to turn the skeins of silk into dazzling colours, a crucial first step in the process of making an exquisite sari.
Skeins of silk Chennai Silkwinds
The skeins of silk must first be boiled to remove gum and other impurities to ensure the dye can bind to the thread.
Tie-and-dye Chennai Silkwinds
Dyeing is a manual job, performed over boiling vats. A tie-and-dye method is also used to bind a range of different colours
Weaver Chennai Silkwinds
It can take two weavers up to 10 days to weave one sari. Pushpamma, 50, has been working in the silk industry since childhood. Thankfully, child labour is now banned in India.
Pit looms Chennai Silkwinds
Saris are hand-woven on pit looms, formed of numerous intricate parts, and are often built directly into the ground of the weavers’ homes.
Woman Chennai Silkwinds
Though silk saris are mainly reserved for special occasions, saris in general remain daily wear for many women on the streets of Chennai, with lightweight polyester blends being the most preferred.
Silk Chennai Silkwinds
The borders and pallus (the hanging end draped over the shoulder) of silk saris showcase intricate designs in fine gold thread known as zari. Common motifs include birds, mangoes and flowers.
T Nagar Chennai Silkwinds
The busy T Nagar shopping district is the hub for specialised sari boutiques in Chennai, and people across India and the diaspora flock here for wedding outfits.

Captions by Sharanya Manivannan

SEE ALSO: Why Chennai is now India’s trendiest city for shopping, dining and nightlife

This article was originally published in the May 2019 issue of Silkwinds magazine

The post Photo essay: The colourful world of sari-making in Chennai appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

No comments:

Post a comment