Head to #thesarischool at Assagao this weekend



Rta Kapur Chishti began producing textiles of excellence in 1998 with available technology, and in 2010 along with textile designer Pallavi Verma – the two continued the revival and regeneration of the ancient Indian craft of hand spinning and hand weaving.

Her label TaanBaan has an exclusive variety of indigenous rain-fed organic cottons and low twist silks using hand spun yarns on the traditional spinning wheel (desi charkha), woven with the finest hand skills on handloom. “The range includes saris, dupattas, scarves and home furnishing distinguished by their unique texture, a contemporary rendering of traditional skills,” says Chishti who will be in Goa to conduct a two-day workshop at Sacha’s Shop, Assagao.

Sacha Mendes of Sacha’s Shop says: “As a label, TaanBaan is pure luxury. The saris are woven from organic, rain-fed cotton sans pesticides. The cotton is combed, drawn on the traditional spinning wheel and then sequenced to be laid on the loom. Rtaji’s attention to detail is unfaltering and I think that really comes across when you finally feel the fabric.”

The sari represents a culture in which the woven and textured-with-pattern garment, not pierced or intruded upon by the stitching needle, was considered not only more appropriate in terms of aesthetics and climate, but also an act of greater purity and simplicity. Mendes adds: “I remember a dear friend gifting me a book by Rta Kapur Chishti, ‘Saris of India: Madhya Pradesh’, when I was in college. I’ve always had so much respect for Rtaji’s patience and perseverance in researching and documenting the sari, so my generation of sari wearers would not miss out. There was something quite selfless and noble in that itself.”

Chishti initiated The Sari School to promote the usage, understanding, survival and recreation of the unstitched garment. It is an educational initiative to celebrate the draped garment. It aims to raise awareness about the unlimited possibilities of recreating this magical unstitched garment in accordance with one’s personal convenience, comfort, body form and formality or informality of occasion. “Wearing styles differ from region to region and there are 108 wearing styles depicted in the last volume titled ‘Saris of India: Tradition and Beyond’ published by Roli books in 2010, which has inspired the setting up of The Sari School workshops on a weekly basis,” says Chishti. At the workshops organised, participants are encouraged to recreate the garment for their own needs as it is capable of being draped as a pair of pants, pantaloons, a dress long or short or even a gown.

The variation of density between border patterns, body and the two end pieces can be the take off point for various developments to take place both in the hand woven sector as well as the mechanised sector.

Hand woven saris have become an area for research and development of a whole range of patterned fabrics.

“The personal pleasure of draping the unstitched, fluid garment over and around the body, adjusting it with little tucks and pulls to suit one’s own particular form, is sensuous.  It creates a picture of flowing grace that conceals as much as it reveals,” Chishti says. At the workshop, a minimum of four select wearing styles from 108 available will be taught in practice representing the regional variations. These are the take off point for participants to experiment and innovate for their own comfort, choice of materials and occasion. The workshop will also cover materials, spinning and weaving techniques along with draping.

(The two-day workshop will be held on October 19 and October 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sacha’s Shop, Assagao. Limited seats available on advance booking of `2500. Details: 9823805897)