Reviving the lost era of Patteda anchu

7-day exhibition, held at Dastkari Haat Studio, focussed on the usage of natural dyes in patteda anchu sarees

Indian handloom takes pride in surviving the vagaries of time and sticking to its originality. Patteda anchu sari weavers from Karnataka have kept alive one such ancient weave from 10th century.

Named after the pattern (border and checks), the sari was specifically designed for women working in farms. This coarse 20's count sari is made in cotton and has specific colour palette that includes shades like yellow, red, pink and green.

They are inspired by nature and cultural events influenced by local lives of the weavers at the ancient handloom hub of Gajendragarh, Karnataka.

Dr Hemlata Jain, a designer, and researcher, is doing her bit to revive the journey of Patteda anchu using natural dyes. She has been developing ways to make it more eco-friendly and easily accessible.

Elaborating on what makes it worth reviving, Jain said, "The community has a custom of offering Patteda anchu saree to their goddess before the marriage, which then is worn by the bride. The piece has its own uniqueness in terms of fabric, design, and pattern. Each saree takes almost 45 days to weave, has exclusive patterns and style and can be worn from both the sides. The major identity of the saree is the thickness of its border and a single colour line over it.''

The revival story of art started in 2013 with one weaver and today, there are almost 45 weavers associated with the 'Punarjeevana' initiative of Dr Hemlata Jain.

To talk more about Jain's efforts in the field, Jaya Jaitly, Founder of Dastkari Haat Samiti, organised a 7-day workshop cum exhibition, at Dastkari Haat Studio, Lodi Road, New Delhi.

Talking about the exhibition, Jaya Jaitly, President of Dastkari Haat Samiti said, "This is a non-profit initiative to highlight our country's rich culture and heritage. Visitors will get an opportunity to witness the ancient craft back in trend with vibrant colours put together."

The 7-day exhibition (September 6 -12) touched upon the important aspects of natural dyes and how they can enhance the color yield and color-fastness extensively.

Jain has always emphasized on dye more than the saree because Patteda anchu is already in the market. "I have developed a new process of color fastness using a natural mordant that is lodhra. It improves color fastness and is also very sustainable for the environment. Lodhra is an Ayurvedic ingredient used extensively in India from older days. But lodhra leaves which are available in abundance were never used but burnt down. After extensive research and a pilot study, I was able to achieve zero waste during dyeing, good color fastness using lodhra leaves which were thrown away as waste," said Jain.

She is really positive about this Indian art and is looking forward to taking it beyond the boundaries.

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