Getting festive ready I chanced upon Poludas Nagendra Satish’s Sutra Durrie. This led me to understand how earlier one could differentiate through designs of one village or weaver from the other. The cottage industry of durrie weaving in Warangal, Telengana can be recognized with its geometrical and angular designs in weft interlocking technique (both sides look the same). Here a large population consisted of skilled weavers and dyers. But the unofficial figures stated otherwise, that almost 50% of Padmasali community have left their ancestral vocation as the craft is too laborious, and provides little sustenance or dignity.
Sometime back an astute Collector of the area approached Crafts Council of Telengana to revive this sustainable craft for today’s market by engaging the district. In collaboration with Satish, who runs his own initiative with Crafts Council of Telangana – KORA, Sutra Durries employ independent skilled weavers in two groups, one in Kottawada Colony, Warangal and the other in Venkateshwarapally Village.
14 looms and 18 weavers use pit and frame looms equipped with multi treadles. The idea is to link craft to farm and maximize the use of local resources. Since cotton lasts long, the flat weave durrie is made sturdy with the compactness of the weft. In this small design outfit no weaver makes more than 4 durries of the same design. Each is made exclusive with colour and structure variations. It takes a 35-45 yr old weaver 4-5 days to construct one durrie. These men were associated with master weavers who uptil now threaten them for breaking away.
Standing tall these Sutra Durrie weavers are happy to be paid according to their skill and why not? The monthly salaries and yearly bonus are invested well in insurance and pension schemes. So they take great pride in training young boys, also. The empowered participate in exhibitions to evolve both in design and technical know-how. Most importantly regular work helps them in improvising their skillsets on a daily basis.
“It took them nearly a year to master this technique…but is still difficult to discipline them since drinking is a bad habit which they easily give into, and then do not report for work the next day…. but are content making around Rs.400-500 in a day. For a creative person like me, before the product comes the craftsman. It’s their passion which adds a soul to the durrie.” exclaims Satish.
Then piquing my interest he spoke of the rugs being 100% hand woven and eco-friendly because of the pure cotton and reactive dyes used. A ‘weaver community centric model’ directs the durries’ sale proceeds to the craftsmen. Each one has the opportunity to showcase their talent through a range of stylized traditional designs.
With Kora, Satish intends on going back to basics through processes and materials. His design journey started with Printmaking and Graphics from Andhra University, Vishakhapatnam. Then following his inner voice he enrolled himself for Textile Designing at NID (2000-2003 batch). He found joy in telling stories from life through fine arts and after NID worked closely with people of grassroot level.
Having hand spun with banana fibre on the east west banks of Godavari this vagabond is eager to chart out more projects with natural fibres and art techniques such as handpainting and blockprinting; which is what I am looking forward to.
But before ordering these for my sister’s new house I informed her of the care instructions – ‘Wash with Shikakai and Reetha’
Satish Nagendra Poludas
Kora designs Pvt. Ltd,
Hyderabad & Visakahpatnam
+91 9490875858, +91 9494000802