Cotton Weavers Of Orissa

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In the early 16th century some weavers from Bengal migrated to Orissa along with Chaitanya Prabhu which led to a blend of weaving patterns of textures and drapery styles. The threadwork in Orissa brought a new outlook to Bengal weavers. The Jagatsingpur district in Orissa is perhaps the only place today where people still indulge in weaving of cotton fabrics. Various organizations have helped these weavers to make a place in the contemporary market. The single cotton saris making process usually involves 40s, 60s and 80s single count cotton and the 2/80s cotton which is mercerized is used for sari. The yarn or thread which is unbleached is dyed in desired color which is then spread in open space to starch it and dry it. The entire process of making sari takes around three weeks.

 

The weaver while working on the loom reads the graph pattern and accordingly inserts the extra weft to create the desired pattern. This community underwent a major loss after the Supercyclone of 1999 erasing the houses and families involved in it after which very few went back to the art of weaving. The weavers were aging and there was also a shift in the demand of local market. For the old aged weavers, there is no option for an alternative livelihood and thus indulge in it while the younger people refrain from it majorly due to inadequate wages.