A textile design expert Professor Wendy Weiss from Nebraska, USA is helping traditional Patola or Ikat weavers of Somasar village in Surendranagar to design motifs for textile through a design software that translates designs into traditional patterns.
Ikat is a traditional form of yarn preparation for weaving by dying it, weaving, preparing warp or weft threads and binding. Patola textile has a big market outside the state and also abroad.
Weiss, who is a fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Scholar at MS University's clothing and textile department, documented the technicality involved in the Patola weaving process in 2009. She is working along with a team of research scholars from MSU's Faculty of Family and Community Sciences.
They have introduced weave structure software to the weavers. 'ProWeave' is an inexpensive programme for weaving that has an elaborate drawing component that is very effective for designing a textile like Patola. Weiss has taught these to a few weavers in the community who are adopting it to design the Patola textiles.
The community has a population of 3,000 of which 1,500 households are from the weavers or Vaghela community. Presently about 30 households are actively working in weaving or allied trades.
Earlier the weavers would incur loss of time and income because they did not have their own designs for the textile and had to depend on their clients to give them designs and then make the textiles according to their requirements. Their work did not have a sense of their identity and creativity, which would now be possible after adopting the technology, said Weiss who was also supported by Ankita Patadia, a researcher.
The weavers will now be able to develop a line of patterns to be used in dress fabrics and will possess an increased understanding of repeat design development for Ikat using digital solutions and also to trend forecasting in Indian apparel sector.
Weiss has also developed her own method for textile artwork based on the traditional Gujarati
method of preparing the warp threads for Ikat. The project will be exhibited in 2016 at Triennial of Textiles in Lodz, Poland.
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