An integral part of Indian heritage, handlooms are believed to have been in use since the 3rd century BC. Corners and pockets of India are still witness to their soothing rhythms and meticulous methods as a few continue to stand the test of time.
Once, the only clothes we made were those woven by hand. Weavers used traditional looms which are now called handlooms, essentially a frame that holds the warp threads under tension, to weave cloth by hand. Hands and feet are used to operate the loom and produce a variety of gorgeousness using different techniques.
The most common fabrics produced on handlooms today are running fabrics, sarees, shawls, and stoles. The handloom industry is an important source of employment in India. It is estimated that there are over 1 million weavers in the country.The types of looms
Three main types of handlooms are used in India. Pit looms, frame looms, and ground looms. These looms are made of some form of wood, varying from teak to bamboo based on the region they originate from.
Pit looms are the simplest. They are woven on a horizontal loom that is set up on the ground. The weaver sits on the ground and operates the loom with his or her feet. Pitlooms are mostly used to weave simple fabrics. They are not built to weave complex patterns.
Frame looms are more complex than pit looms. They are woven on a horizontal loom that is set up on a frame. The weaver sits on the frame and operates the loom with his or her hands. Frame looms can be used to weave a variety of fabrics. They are suitable for weaving complex patterns.
Ground looms are the most complex type of handloom. They are woven on a vertical loom that is set up on the ground. The weaver stands or sits on the ground and operates the loom with his or her hands. Ground looms, again, can be used to weave a variety of fabrics and are perfect for weaving complex patterns.
Handlooms are a sustainable and ethical way of producing fabrics. When weavers and their communities are compensated fairly for their work we are enabling artisans, entire societies, and recognising them as the skilled craftspeople they are. An important source of income for weavers and their families, handlooms are also a source of timelessly beautiful creations and unique fabrics. They are made with natural fibres in natural ways and nothing can beat them when colour and festivity are on top of your mind.