How the loom weaves a story
Every piece begins as an idea on the drawing table. Completely hand done, the seed of the idea is allowed to grow with artistic abandon, explored in several colours, patterns and combinations. It is then graphed out as a design for the weavers to weave in Jamdani.
Jamdani as a technique requires skilled weavers. It involves a community of artisans, often a family of weavers, dyers and spinners coordinating with each other. Jamdani weaving is work intensive, especially at Karomi, where we practice the authentic technique of hand-picked warp for Jamdani that requires both, precision and attention to detail.
‘Karomi Jamdanis’ bring 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 mechanised jacquard looms in the village.
All our processes, from dyeing to reeling, warping and weaving, are hand-done.
Yarns in hanks are hand dyed, often with natural dyes in the shades specified by the design. Finer the yarn, the more difficult its dyeing…and at Karomi, we work with very fine yarns.
Sizing & Reeling
The dyed thread is strengthened and softened by soaking overnight in a solution of rice water starch, allowing the women to wind it more easily onto bobbins. It is tedious work done early in the morning, usually between 4 and 9am, before the increasing heat dries the thread, making it more difficult to handle. Reeling into spools is done by hand on the “charkhas” or spinning wheels.
The wound bobbins are sent to another artisan who prepares the warp on a beam. As per the specified warping pattern, warp yarns are laid out on a large wooden wheel-like structure called a “drum...or beam”.
Depending on the complexity of the warping pattern, a single warp can take anywhere between 2 - 7 days for drumming.
After drumming, threading of yarns is done through needle-like healds and then passed through the reed - a comb like structure used to beat the weft in place at the time of weaving. Healding is done early in the morning, in bright light. It requires a lot of hand and eye coordination.
Fabric is woven using the fly shuttle in traditional pit looms. Weaving Jamdani is a matter of skill and patience and weaving a Karomi Jamdani requires resolution too. Designs are both random and complex, and use really fine yarns in a variety of colours. Fine yarns have a tendency to break if too much strength is applied or entangle if the tension is not right.
After weaving, the ends in each piece are knotted and fringe finished. Then the piece is washed to remove all traces of gum/starch...and finally ironed. Depending on the intricacy of the design, each piece from dyeing to finishing can take anywhere between 30 and 90 days.
Hand Block Printing
Carved in wood, dipped in colour, and imprinted on cloth… at Karomi, the traditional craft of hand block printing is reinvented with artistic designs for the modern woman. The ‘print over print’ layering technique creates a fascinating impression of depth on the light and delicate fabric. A wide array of colours and surface textures make the prints strikingly beautiful.
Kantha is an embroidery craft where the simple ‘run’ stitch is traditionally used to paint stories on cloth by the rural women of Bengal. A Karomi Kantha is contemporary as it celebrates “pointillism” wherein every ‘run’ stitch can be seen as a speck of colour lending itself to a larger form. Embroidered on a block printed base, the resultant Kantha creates an interesting illusion of intermingling shapes and colourful textures.
Chic, timeless silhouettes are tailored to perfection with great attention to detail at Karomi. Custom designs in soft, breathable fabrics are handwoven for every garment, curated and handmade for the woman of today.