Hand loom – On the verge of extinction?

Hand loom weaving machine

The Indian hand loom had been present in the history for as long as we could remember. One could find its evidence of presence since the Indus Valley Civilization. Traditionally, the entire cloth-making process was self reliant. From the procurement of raw materials to the production of finished cloth, everything was done on a local level. But the advent of globalization and use of modern technology has to a significant extent disrupted the art of weaving.

Hand loom refers to wooden frames of different types which are used by skilled artisans to weave fabrics using wool, silk, cotton, etc. Right from spinning of yarn to weaving them into usable materials is done by these artisans. Products including cotton clothes, hand loom sarees, bed sheets, pillow covers, doormats, knitting threads, etc., are manufactured out of the hands of weavers. These local artisans usually live in close proximity to where they work.

Artisan working on hand loom
Use of the traditional Charkha for spinning the thread
Work of hand on the machine
Making of the fabric
Making of doormats
Cutting of the fabric material
Worker filling cotton for making pillows
Resident ladies stitching
Making of the thread for the fabric
Using of the cycle Charkha
Making of the stitching thread
Stitching threads (finished product)
Finished products at the factory

Though the government is trying hard to support these cottage industries from being extinct, these industries are lagging behind in the technological race and are facing competition from cheaper imports. Lower demand for handmade products is making it un-affordable for the weavers to continue production and more and more hand loom factories are being shut down to become extinct.

A glimpse inside the hand loom factory
Atmosphere around the factory
Unused spinning machine

My documentation of these weavers is about the struggle and persevering hard work by a certain group of people who are keeping this craft alive and preventing the art of weaving from being extinct. Along with that, certain group of people are still an existing market for these products who are keeping the demand moving.

7 thoughts on “Hand loom – On the verge of extinction?

      1. thank you! Your photos are gorgeous, hand looms and the designs are fascinating. I have a few shots I made in Mexico, near Oaxaca, several years ago of people demonstrating the process of preparing raw wool and dying it various colors, and some loom work. I have not published the photos, but I am inspired by your lovely work.


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