What makes someone a master weaver? In the old guild system, one had to be an apprentice and then a journeyman working under a master. Once becoming a master, the cycle repeated. I recently watched master weaver Dayalal Kudecha work. His hands instinctively knew what to do as he spoke while demonstrating weaving. His hands picked at the threads on the loom, the shuttle went back and forth, and inches of cloth were woven. His weaving so fine, the beat of the cloth so even, and the detailing so perfectly executed–only a master could achieve this level of hand work.
From Apprentice to Master
For over 25 years, Dayalal Kudecha had earned his livelihood through weaving for a master weaver in Bhujodi, a weaving district near Bhuj-Kachchh (aka Kutch) in the district of Gujurat in west India. But all that time, he had two dreams: to become an independent artist and for his sons to receive a higher education. Not only has he accomplished both, he continued his own quest for development. In 2015, he received his certificate in Business and Management for Artisans from Somaiya Kala Vidya, an institute for education of artisans. After earning this degree, he returned to teaching design and business as an SKV faculty member.
The specialty of the Bhujodi Kutch weaving tradition is the hand insertion of ornamental supplementary wefts, almost like embroidery. In looking at these detailed images, you can see these patterns inlaid into the handwoven plain weave cloth.
Every aspect of Dayalal’s weaving shows his mastery of the craft and his ability to design within tradition. Watch this video of Dayalal weaving the two-colored braid-like pattern.
Passing It On
It’s through teaching that Dayalal has honed a sophisticated understanding of design, and a deep love for his tradition, both of which he seamlessly weaves into his work. He adds, “I enjoy my freedom as a weaver. I am proud to have shared our art with many people, and that my success has set an example for young people to continue or return to weaving.”
If you’d like to “Learn with the Masters”, the design school of Somaiya Kala Vidya is offering workshops and intensive courses in the Textile Traditions of Kutch.
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