In Kalna, West Bengal, we visited Rajib Debnath. He and his father Jyotish are reviving the art of muslin jamdani weaving.
The raw cotton is spun by hand into a thread finer than a hair from my head (see below). The cotton is handpicked in Kerala and Maharashtra and then spun by women with very good eyesight.
The weaving is only done in the cooler early morning and evening hours as the high humidity around mid-day can break the superfine muslin threads. Jamdani involves the insertion of a supplementary weft thread to create beautiful designs. While looking at beautiful works in the showroom, I saw a flash of brilliant blue – I asked Rajib if I could see the piece. He carefully pulled it out – it was a stunning saree, but a little out of my price range at 1.5million rupees or NZ$31,000!!
I did buy a shawl though – still blue, but smaller and not quite as exquisite…