WEAVING / बुनाई
Weaving in India dates back to as early as 5000 years; when this traditional method of textile production was used for the making of luxurious clothing for the Indian royalty. It is the art of interlacing yarns and threads at right angles to form a fabric. The longitudinal threads are called the ‘warp’ and lateral threads are called the ‘weft.’ A land of diverse indigenous fashion, weaving in India is varied, with different regions adopting patterns and designs unique to their environment. Depending upon the region they belong to, weavers divide themselves into communities such as bunkar, julaha, salvi and ansari.
At present, 4.3 million artisans are engaged in this traditional profession.
Here at Ruaab, we’ve formed a network of weavers from Phulia, West Bengal; and Bhagalpur, Bihar to showcase their skills and preserve this organic art form. Ruaab consciously works towards creating a unique garment sourcing and production model that is owned and managed by women producers, ensuring a transparent and ethical environment. This eliminates the malpractices of middlemen and ensures that our women get their dues, which they rightfully deserve. Ruaab aims at providing meaningful employment to artisan women and enabling them in creating a secure future through benefits like micro-credit and pension, social security, vocational training and children education, legal sessions and linkages to various government schemes.
JAMDANI / जामदानी
Originating from Dhaka, Bangladesh, Jamdani is a vividly patterned, sheer cotton fabric, traditionally woven on a handloom. Its name is derived from ‘jama’ meaning flower and ‘dani’ meaning vase. It is a time-consuming and labour-intensive form of weaving because of the richness of its floral motifs, which are created directly on the loom using the discontinuous weft technique; apart from the usual weft, other weft threads are inserted in the warp by hand to make flower patterns on the cloth. Jamdani textiles combine intricacy of design with muted or vibrant colours, and the finished garments are highly breathable. Traditionally, the saris were coloured only in white having floral and geometric motifs and border. The modern colour palette is much more evolved and brighter versions using this traditional fabric style are created.
CHIKANKARI / चिकन की कढ़ाई
Chikan, in the literal sense, means ’embroidery’. Chikankari is Lucknow’s most ancient and well-known form of traditional embroidery style, believed to be introduced by the Mughals. Intricate designs are delicately worked on to the garment, giving it an endlessly subtle, classy feel that modern embroidery techniques lack. While traditionally done on muslin cloth (mulmul), it’s now also used on georgette, chiffon, crepe, silk, polyester and cotton. It involves three types of needlework techniques- flat work, cut work and shadow/ embossed work. Traditional embroidery stitches include taipchi (running stitch), bakhia (herringbone stitch), daraz (applique), phanda (French knots) and zanzeer (chain stitch). The motifs in Chikankari are known as Chikan buta. Most common are phool buta and keri buta. The vine creepers are called bel. Types include Ari Bel (diagonally inclined creepers). Khari bel (vertically inclined creepers) and Leti bel (horizontally inclined creepers).
The main essence of the garment is a simple design, and while motifs are now added to make the garment look rich, it still remains a simple and affordable fabric choice.
HAND WORK / हाथ का काम
The art of enhancing and beautifying a cloth is called handwork. Different styles include thread embroidery, mirror work, patchwork and applique.
Embroidery as a craft form has existed since ancient times in India. Its testimony lies in the discovery of bronze needles in Mohenjo-Daro, robes worked with the gold of the Mauryan court as written by Megasthanes, Ajanta cave paintings in the early medieval time and the bedspreads of Bengal during the reign of the East India Company. Embroidery in India has an Indo-Persian influence. Based upon the regional diversity in India, they have evolved now into what we now know as Chikankari, Kashidakari, Phulkari, Kantha, Zardozi and many more. Thread embroidery is carried out with different types of embroidery stitches; Kantha, herringbone, buttonhole, satin, french knots.
Through constant effort and practice, our bens excel in embroidery.
AARI WORK / आरी का काम / ZARDOZI
Aari work is a type of embroidery work that is done by stretching the fabric tightly over a wooden frame (aari). A pen-like needle, that resembles a crochet needle is used to do the intrinsic Aari work. It’s popularly done in Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Lucknow and Bhopal. Originated during the Mughal era, Aari artwork is popular for its fine and delicate thread work.
Zardozi is a type of heavy and elaborate metal embroidery on a silk, satin, or velvet fabric base. Zardozi in India as an embroidery form dates back to the period of the Rigveda and prospered during Akbar’s rule in the Mughal era, when pure silver wires and real gold leaves were used to embroider. Zardozi is popular in the Indian cities of Lucknow, Farrukhabad, Chennai and Bhopal. Designs are often created using gold and silver threads and can incorporate pearls, beads, and precious stones. Metal embellishment materials like sitara, dabka, zari, salma, and beads are used to enhance and beautify the fabric.