Vimor Handloom Foundation

Arts Research and Documentation

Grant Period: Over nine months

Principal Investigator: Pavithra Muddayya

Vimor started as a small venture to train and encourage weavers to produce traditional, marketable saris. It has over the last 30 years of its existence done some pioneering work in reviving handloom sari designs in South India.

Through this project, Vimor aims not only to create awareness about the Molkalmuru sari design of Chitradurga district in Northern Karnataka, but also to revive this dying craft. It also hopes that research and documentation on this craft will translate into greater demand and production of this style of weaving, thus benefiting the weavers and keeping their legacy alive.

There are two main reasons why Vimor wishes to undertake a documentation of the weaving techniques of the Molkalmuru sari. Vimor’s preliminary research on the sari revealed that, for various reasons, the traditional weavers of this sari were no longer weaving it regularly. The labour intensive style of weaving the bird motif, Andhra Pradesh’s monopoly over ikkat and the migration of ikkat weavers to that state, the lack of demand for the Molkalmuru sari, were among the factors that led to weavers switching to mass–produced cheaper designs, like Kanjeevarams, that have a large share of the market.

Vimor also feels that documentation of these styles is valuable in itself as a record of a little known handloom technique. The research will also look into the technical aspects of weaving the Molkalmuru sari, like the quality of silk traditionally used, the construction of the loom on which the sari was woven, the accessories and tools used, details about counts and picks, dyeing methods, and the reasons for differences in the motifs between the three types of saris.

Vimor intends to publish a book with the research findings and also make presentations of the research to various organisations concerned with Indian handlooms. The new sample saris woven will be housed in the Crafts Museum and the loom donated to the Weavers Service Centre.