Did you know that onions are used with wheat flour to starch yarns used for dhabda weaving ? This combination makes the brittle yarn strong enough for weaving
The ‘Vankars’ or the weavers of Kutchh are Meghwal migrants who came from Rajasthan six centuries ago.
The yarns for shawl weaving, both cotton & woollen comes from Bhujodi, Ludhiana, Rajasthan & Ahmedabad. Since the yarn bought is too brittle, it is first starched in a combination of wheat flour and wild onions. Then it is dried, combed and warp is prepared by the women of the house. The weaving is then done by men.
The local art of weaving provided for the identity and needs of many communities in the region. Among these, their alliance with the nomadic, sheep herding community of the Rabaris is well known. The weavers depend on the Rabaris for woollen fleece from sheep and in exchange weave for them.
Among the Kutch craftsmen, bandhini and ajrakh artisans have risen, but the weavers have dipped, many of whom are now employed in factories in the region. While craftsmen turned businessmen thrive, independent weavers usually struggle to make ends meet, and the returns for them are barely worth the effort and time they invest.
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