Karomi JAMDANI – artistic and authentic weaving

Karomi JAMDANI – artistic and authentic weaving

Deep in the heart of rural Bengal, we convinced a single weaver in a weaving village to challenge the conservative Jamdani motifs and trust our experimental innovative designs. His initial hesitation quickly made way for enthusiasm and set the tone for what is today the unconventional ‘Karomi Jamdani’.

Jamdani is a historical, extra weft weaving technique of Bengal, India. The meaning of the word Jamdani is highly debated. It is however, believed to have originated from two words ‘Jam’ meaning floral and ‘dani’ meaning vase. Although Jamdani finds its roots in Bengal, it is said to have a strong Persian influence.

In Jamdani, extra yarns are used in the weft direction to form motifs while the base fabric is being woven. Traditionally, Jamdani motifs are a geometric interpretation of flora and fauna. A noticeable trait of the craft is the play of texture and light on the fabric. The base fabric woven in fine counts is almost translucent. The motifs adorned on this delicate fabric are woven using coarser counts to create an opaque design.

Jamdani as a technique requires skilled weavers. Every single motif formed by hand picking each warp yarn according to the design commands precision and great attention to detail, making it a work intensive process. Although many weaving clusters in Bengal have moved to using Jacquard mechanisms to pick the warp, at Karomi, we practice the authentic technique of hand-picked warp for Jamdani.

Rooted in tradition, a ‘Karomi Jamdani’ adds a modern twist to the craft. Each piece, so essentially artistic, is a randomized interplay of motifs arranged in unconventional layouts. Through the use of large or no repeats our designs are rendered as one of a kind, while simultaneously ensuring our customers an authentic jamdani that cannot be replicated on village jacquard looms.

At karomi, Jamdani is used as a medium to paint on cloth. It permits us to recreate any idea into reality; such is the versatility of the craft. Karomi Jamdanis draw inspiration from simple things that surround us. Everyday shapes like squares and circles are interpreted in interesting and engaging compositions that make for a clean yet sophisticated design. Although Jamdani gives a subtle textured look, a bold and contemporary design approach is taken to add layers of focus and depth.         

Each day, at the studio, the craft is pushed to develop into new versions of itself. Every piece begins as an idea on the studio drawing table. The seed of an idea is allowed to grow with artistic abandon, explored in several colors, patterns and combinations. It is then graphed out as a design for the weavers. With textiles at its core, Karomi constantly experiments with the base fabric as much as it explores Jamdani. Be it the color, motif, yarn or even its twist, every aspect that contributes to the piece is experimented on to add a new dimension.

Jamdani is an elaborate technique which requires precise planning - at the studio and on the loom. From yarn to yardage, each process is handmade; yarn is hand dyed, handwoven with each warp hand-picked by the artisans to form motifs and each product is finished by hand. Driven by quality, every Karomi product epitomizes sustainability; working in harmony with the environment, providing sustaining lifestyles to artisans and constantly reinventing the craft to engage with the modern consumer.

In recognition of innovation and quality in handloom weaving, Karomi received the UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts in 2012 and 2014. Global appreciation of the craft and craftsmen is one of Karomi’s goals. Giving a new identity to Jamdani while protecting its authenticity, bridging the gap between the artisan and the market and promoting eco-conscious, sustainable fashion are the principal ideologies that lead Karomi’s way.

Aham Karomi