Celebrate: Saving a Textile Legacy – October 22, 2014
Anna VanDelman reports:
Shila Desai introduced us to a world of cultural heritage, pride of artisanship and survival, glorious colour and renewal. We were taken into this incredible, kaleidoscopic world of magical colours, and their near loss in Gujarati communities. After a long period during which traditional skills were passed from generation to generation, dyeing skills, block-printing skills, and stitching skills have been threatened with extinction.
In some communities, the important ground water levels have a dropped and the water has become contaminated: new and improper technologies, industrialization in general, a younger generation attracted to more leisure time, and the disruption of trade patterns following the 1947 partition of Pakistan and India have all contributed to the erosion of this precious legacy. Six hundred years of this art was about to be lost. Now, how to protect and revive this legacy so crucial to women’s dowries and local economies? In some cases, it is WOMEN TO THE RESCUE! NGOs directed by women philanthropists get together to preserve traditional crafts while bringing them into the 21st century. Success leads to success and now over 100 villages and 22,000 women are benefitting.
See more by following the video links. And, experience heritage textiles for yourself by joining Shila on of her tours to India, Tanzania, North India and Sri Lanka. “BON VOYAGE.”
Photos by Janis Katz
Textile samples courtesy Shila Desai