It’s not until we saw the layered process behind our loomed cotton that we realised the amount of work, hours and hands that go into our fabric.
One overnight train to Bikaner from Delhi and another 3 hour drive away brought us to the loom collective of our partner Rangsutra, in Lunkaransar. What started as a dairy collective decades ago evolved into a veterinary association for the rural farmers in the area. In 2001, a branch of this collective developed for the hand and power loom production of cotton.
Left to right: Chanana ram, Teja ram, Pradeep, Raju, Manni ram, Pura ram, Mahinder khan, Veena soni
There are about 10-25 handloom weavers, depending on the season, and 8-10 people involved in the power loom process. Dying, weaving, spooling, operation of the looms, quality control and export control are all concentrated in one production unit, which is just one of many units operated by Rangsutra throughout the region of Rajasthan.
The weavers found our documentation process slightly bizarre, asking for each of their names and their role in the collective. To be honest, we didn’t fully know what we would do with this material, only that the record of it was somewhat, precious. There is something beautiful about being able to put a name and a face to something made.
At the end, this man came up to us and said, almost shyly, “You didn’t take down my name. Please remember it. I am Veena soni, and I work the power loom.”
There is something beautiful about that.