I had the privilege to attend the launch of Patteda Anchu and Gamcha Sarees in Bangalore. It is amazing to find that there are so many kinds of art and craft of this country that are still getting discovered.
I met Hemlatha Jain, who has done this commendable work of reviving the Patteda Anchu Sarees which are in records since the 10th century. As a part of her PhD project, and with a support from Dastkari Haat Samiti, she was able to get these sarees produced for the first time. She recalled how she learnt Kannada to communicate with weavers.
Briefly speaking, the saree is named after the borders and check patterns. It is also known as dundina, devaru or laxmi sare.
Speaking on the technical aspects of it, she told us it is woven in the count combinations of 20s x 40s cotton yarn. The typical length of one warp is six sarees and is woven on the traditional pit looms. She used cold reactive dyes to dye the yarns, which are then woven with three shuttle technique.
These have their own story of the revival. On a trip to Phulia, Jaya Jetly of Dastkari Haat Samiti found that there were beautiful Gamchas woven in the areas of Nabadweep. The weavers used to get a pittance while weaving these. She thought it would be great if these Gamchas are woven into sarees so as to ensure its wider reach as well as ensuring a better livelihood for weavers. At the same time she did not want to put these sarees out of reach of common masses. So she started discussion with Ankit, a NIFT graduate, who in his remarkable way, had to convince the weavers to set the sarees. He not only gave them designs but also technical inputs on how to weave the sarees. Finally the first set of sarees came and are sure to create waves among the consumer communities.
The typical length of warp is 100 Sarees which are then distributed over four looms with 25 sarees on ach loom.