I have been following Woven Threads since a while now on social media and exhibitions. Also conversed with its creative head Kevisedenuo Margaret Zinyu who is from Kohima, Nagaland at Dastkar, Delhi on a few occasions. But each time our conversations steered towards… why we Indians are not wanting to shell out anything more than the price of synthetic or power loom product? When will we realize the man hours, raw material and expertise gone into it? The stories of irregularities or slubs in khadi and handloom only seem to move a few, as the masses think of it as unfinished or coarse.
As a trained Textile Designer from NID, Ahmedabad, she specializes in Colour & Trim. Additionally, has a rich industry exposure from luxury craft to vehicle design. Amongst her many laurels is the coveted – World Crafts Council (WCC) – Award of Excellence 2018. With 7th August ’19 National Handloom Day, just gone by, I’d like to share relevant email exchanges with this designpreneur of handloom and handicraft, who spins beautiful home linen, too.
MD: What is your family background?
MZ: I come from a family of Doctors and Politicians.
MD: What does handloom mean to you in terms of values and fabric?
MZ: Handloom to me is a piece of emotion, wrapped with stories; which manages to look better with time.
MD: What influenced you to take up handloom, despite its challenges?
MZ: I kept following my heart and accidentally fell deeply, madly, truly in love with its textures and natural colours coherent to handloom and handicraft industry. That passion led me further without getting cowed down by impediments.
MD: Are handloomed textiles of North East more in demand now? And why?
MZ: It’s all based on specific clientele, especially the ones who are well travelled and respect regional heritage and small sustainable producers. Things have been made easy with the advent of technology and markets opening up, with direct access for the artisans.
MD: Are you able to get enough raw material and other resources? What are the challenges?
MZ: Unfortunately we as an enterprise import almost all our raw materials from other states, since the local market is flooded with man-made raw material. Other than that one of our biggest challenges is educating the weavers about eco-friendly and sustainable textile culture.
MD: Who do you admire in the same field?
MZ: There are many, however at the moment I am blown away by Nadia Dafri, in Paris.