Wondering how I can make a difference
We are 3 sisters, I am the youngest. Our age difference is not much, so we share our dresses very easily like all other similar size siblings.
When we were kids we used to put on very smart frocks. My mother used to get the dresses made by sitting with the tailor and guiding him with the exact look she wanted, sometimes by drawing the neckline, the sleeves, and the borders.
Often she referred to magazines for the design. She visited many shops to get the cloth (reasonably priced) and matching laces.
During our college days, we sisters did the same thing and we had a fairly good dress collection vis a vis our friends. Our need was good and smart dresses within our budget. We tried to make our outfits unique.
When you know what will make the product unique, you can try.
You may not get a 100% unique product, but the end result will definitely be different from the usual.
Recently, I along with my husband started our entrepreneurial journey with a vision to showcase the best of Odisha weaving and Odisha's ancient art to the world keeping in mind the latest fashion, under a brand named 'Crafts Collection.' Crafts Collection was created with a vision to revive and restore age-old designs both in weaving and other handmade crafts and to provide a marketing outlet to our weavers and craftsmen. The tag line is ‘where fashion meets with art’.
We sell offline through exhibitions and online through various e-commerce marketplaces and our own site. We give utmost importance to customer feedback. With every offline exhibition we do, direct interaction with customers gives us a lot of information and suggestions.
During my visit to different clusters in Odisha, I have visited Bargarh number of times.
Bargarh, a district in western Odisha, 370 km away from Bhubaneswar, is better known as ‘Hub of Handloom weaving’. Sambalpuri Sarees or ‘Bandha’ Sarees of Odisha do not come only from present-day Sambalpur, rather are woven in Bargarh, Sonepur, Barpalli all being parts of erstwhile undivided Sambalpur.
Handloom weaving is the major industry in Bargarh and provides employment to a major chunk of the population. The district predominantly consists of the Meher community those who are into silk weaving. Other communities are engaged in cotton and other coarser cloth. With the passage of time, all communities are doing all types of weaving. Sambalpuri Sarees have got national and international attention due to their texture, colour, and design. There are a number of highly skilled weavers in the district. A number of National and State awardees belong to Bargarh district
Many prominent personalities were born in this district including:
Parbati Giri, Freedom Fighter
Padmashree Krutartha Acharya, Founder of cooperative society “Sambalpur Bastralaya”
Padmashree Kunjabihari Meher, Known for his Ikat tradition weaving, Mastercraftsman
Surendra Meher, Son of Kunjabihari Meher, bagged the National award for handlooms. He has given a contemporary approach to Sambalpuri ikat with a touch of modernity.
Manabodh Rana. Terracotta Artist.
Padmashree Dr. Krutartha Acharya was the founder and lifetime President of 'Sambalpuri Bastralay' society, which is a world-famous Primary Handloom Cooperative Society for production of exclusive Sambalpuri Tie & Dye fabrics. Later on, following the initiative of Sri Acharya, it evolved as the largest handloom cooperative society in the state as well as in the country.
There are number of handloom villages in Bargarh but I started with visiting Jhiliminda and am now working with the weavers there. Jhiliminda is around 30km away from Bargarh and the entire village is dependent on weaving as their source of income. Now a day they are mostly into cotton fabric weaving.
Some well-known saree varieties woven in Bargarh are given below:
- Double ikat
- Utkal Laxmi
- Passapalli, chessboard checks
- Laxmi Pada Single Bandha
- Dhadi Bandha
- Bandha with rudraksha motifs
- Bandha with fish motifs
I will continue to write on these sarees in my coming posts.
Festivals of Bargarh:
Bargarh district celebrates many festivals around the year. Common festivals are:
- Maha Shivratri of Kedarnath,
- Nrusingha Chaturdarshi,
- Viswakarma Puja,
- Bali yatra of Khuntapali,
- Baisakh Mela of Nrusinghanath
- Phalguna Mela of Bhatli.