Reliving Kanjivaram’s heritage weaves
What a spectacular event Vintage Weaves of Kanjivaram Sarees turned out to be—filled with lovely memories, insightful interactions and useful takeaways
Luz House, a quaint bungalow, tucked away in the cultural hotspot of Mylapore, Chennai, was the perfect setting for an event that showcased the richness and beauty of the timeless Kanjivaram sarees.
Stars of the show
Vintage Weaves of Kanjivaram (VWofK) was an exclusive display of over 150 heritage silk sarees handpicked from our private collection of around 2,000 sarees, which we had painstakingly preserved over several decades.
On display were sarees made using unique weaving techniques that are hard to reproduce today. According to our weavers, some of the sarees in our collection would have taken over 45 days to weave! Can you imagine the kind of work that would have gone into weaving these masterpieces?
Sarees in intricate patterns and Traditional motifs (elephant, peacock, mango, temple border, checks and stripes) and mesmerising colour combinations (see pictures) transported onlookers to an old-worldly era of charm, simplicity and grace.
Many of the visitors told us that they would love to own some of these classic weaves. We shall definitely try our best to recreate, if not replicate, some of them
Motivation for VWofK
Two months ago, when we sat down to plan the event, there was one overwhelming thought in our minds: sarees are timeless treasures that have to be preserved and protected carefully for generations to come. This simple thought was the strong driving force behind VWofK. As we worked towards giving shape to the event in the next few weeks, more related ideas and thoughts emerged.
Ensure weaving traditions and craftsmanship are not lost and our heritage remains with us
Draw inspiration from classic designs; use patterns and techniques as references
Spread across two days (August 6 and 7), the exhibition saw over 500 visitors of all age groups. They not only had a good look at the vintage sarees on display, but also interacted with us keenly, sharing their suggestions, and giving us a lot of productive feedback.
On day one, we had organised a special preview for celebrities, cultural ambassadors and industry doyens like Nalli Kuppuswami Chetti, Carnatic vocalists Sudha Ragunathan and Aruna Sairam, actor Jothika and her family, dancer Anita Ratnam, representatives from Kalakshetra Foundation and Crafts Council of India, and NIFT-Chennai’s director. On day two, the event was open to the public. It was a special day as it was held on the occasion of the 3rd National Handloom Day.
Apart from celebrities, several saree patrons and enthusiasts also embraced the event, dressed in vibrant Kanjivarams . Thank you for your thoughtful and apt gesture!
The event also saw students from city colleges like SIET, Stella Maris and NIFT who were eager to know about old weaving techniques,traditional designs and the importance of preserving old sarees.
We couldn’t let our guests leave without sharing a few words with us.
Actor Jothika, who wears the saree on most occasions, said, “Let’s be proud of our national dress and preserve our tradition.” She also requested elders to value the saree and pass it on to future generations.
Seetha ma, a saree patron, offered a few pointers on preserving sarees. “Handwash sarees to enhances the softness of the silk, iron them on the reverse and safely store them in your cupboards.” Easy, isn’t it?
Dancer Anita Ratnam requested mothers to encourage their daughters to wear the saree as often as possible. “When you wear a Kanjivaram, you wear a part of India. Enjoy the Kanjivaram and make it your own.”
We sure will!