In earlier days, cloths were made through manual process in India. Yarn was made from raw cotton through a handmade machine called Charka which was made of bamboo and wood.
After yarn is made, those were bundled and sent to weaver for weaving of cloths in hand driven machine. This very process of cloth making not only took a huge time and man power but also the quality of cloths were not good. It was coarse and thus not very comfortable to wear. However, it was less costly and available in rural side too.
In course of advancement of science, cloth making process became fully automatic with sophisticated plant and machineries. Weaver class also would produce cotton cloths through manual process as it was exclusive and unique. Still modern times, there are large number of people in different States of India, who earned their daily bread through cloth making in semi automatic process and produce different types of cloths with beautiful colours and designs.
In West Bengal (a State of India), many people in few districts are completely earned their livelihood from Handloom industry. Handloom industries basically fall under small scale industry where people are engaged in various stages of cloth making. The products from handloom is called Tant. The entire process of yarn processing, its colouring, dyeing, drying, designing, weaving and marketing are done by separate groups of people in a locality. There are so many such localities in a town or village where people are engaged in this industry traditionally from very long time and inherited its skill from their forefathers.
In cloth making through manual process, yarns are made in different colours. Then subsequently comes stages of dying, drying, bobbin winding and warping. Dyeing is a process of colouring the raw yarns. It is a crucial preliminary step of handloom weaving. This process is done by hand in small lots or hanks using natural or chemical colourants followed by dyeing, bleaching and drying up in sunlight as a manual process.
In this photo series, workers are engaged in dyeing, bleaching, colouring and drying of yarns. Thereafter, bobbin winding and warping for weaving in handloom machines. In final stage, designing is a vital part of cloth making. Weavers use traditional design or any other design as chosen by their customers. They fit those designs in the handloom machine and weave. One Saree ( cloth of Indian women) requires approximaly 8 hours of weaving in handloom machine. After a Saree is made, same is again processed and put under direct sunlight for final product. The photo series is made at Shantipur, which is a rural town of the State West Bengal, India.
About Shaibal Nandi
An amateur photographer of age about 53 years practicing photography seriously for last 3 years. By profession he is in government service and has taken up photography as a passion. He is basically interested in street photography with human interest, different retuals, cultures, traditions of people across the country. Some of his works have been published in few international photography sites and magazines. Social media links are given below.