Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Folkloric Scarf

At Indigo Handloom, we work with techniques that are not possible in a modern mill. One of these techniques, called ‘matka,’ is used to create our “Folklore” scarf, which is a favorite of ours this season.

Matka silk is made by using parts of the silk that would normally be considered as waste. Conventional silk is made from the long, middle section of a silk strand, while matka utilizes the first and last few meters of the strand. The beginning and end of the silk strand are not used in conventional silk because they are too delicate to withstand machine weaving, however, because handloom weaving is much gentler on fiber, we are able to use these normally discarded bits of silk to create gorgeous matka silks.

Another wonderful property of matka silk is that its fibers are hand spun. The hand spinning process, combined with a substance called seracin, give matka silks their unique texture. Seracin is secreted by the moth as it spins its cocoon, lending strength and an off-white color to the silk fiber. Conventional silk fibers are washed before being woven, getting rid of the seracin and producing a more shiny, uniform fabric. Though matka silk does not have that silky sheen, it is much stronger because of the seracin.

In addition to strength, seracin provides visual and physical irregularity to matka silk. We absolutely love the soft, nubby texture of matka silk. That same texture gives our silk a distinctive weight that translates to a gorgeous drape on the body. Our “Folklore” scarf in ivory is left undyed so that you can see the beauty in the matka fabric. The color, the drape and the feel of our scarf all work together to create something that is truly luxurious.

Our “Folklore” scarf is finished with a beautiful, hand embroidered border as well as a mandala in the center. The embroidery technique we use is called ‘kantha,’ which is a very simple yet beloved technique. Kantha refers to a simple, straight stitch which is used all over the world.

In India, kantha has a special history. It was often used to stitch together old pieces of fabric or saris in the interest of repurposing these prized materials in new ways. Kantha is often called the grandmother stitch as it was used while women would sit together making quilts for their families.

The combined beauty of kantha embroidery on matka silk is unmatched in conventional fashions or any of our past collections. The weight of the matka fabric is complemented by the heavy edging of kantha stitching, creating a beautiful and luxurious drape. The “Folklore” scarf is a true expression of these ancient techniques at their best.

Luckily, we are offering this scarf along with some of our other hand woven products at discounted prices on our Kickstarter campaign! While this scarf would normally cost you $169 through Anthropologie, or $150 through our website, you can get it for the next 15 days for just $125 as a reward for supporting us on Kickstarter. For your donation you will receive all of the rich culture behind our “Folklore” scarf as well as the satisfaction of supporting that culture and the future of handloom in India.

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