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Salvis keep 1000 year-old Patan Patola textile art alive
Jun '11
Patan Patola has an envious history and track record of over 10 centuries of the craft of spinning, weaving, dyeing and finally draping pure silk.

Patan, located to the north of Ahmedabad has inherited a rich cultural heritage and become famous for its Patolas (double ikat).

Hand-woven Patan Patolas are available in various forms like, saris, stoles, scarves and even hand kerchiefs, albeit costly.

The Patolas are made using the tie and dye process using natural dyes like catechu, cochineal, indigo, turmeric, asafoetida, madder roots, manjistha, ratnajyot, katha, kesudo, pomegranate skin, henna, marigold flower, onion skin etc to display vibrant colours in the silk sari or fabric.

Alum, copper sulphate, ferrous sulphate, tin chloride, tannic acid, oxalic acid, potassium dichromate and other mordents are also used in the tedious dyeing process.

It is said that the Patola will wear out or tear off, but will never fade. The Patola fabric production process extensively involves use of vegetable dyes, which accords it an eco-friendly status.

The fabric manufacturing process involves a hand weaving style that originated from Ikat that uses a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye on either the warp or weft silk fibres.

However, the Patan Patola double ikat process involves tie-dye method on both warp as well as weft, which is a tedious process. Both sides of the Patola have the same look and feel which is indeed unique for any textiles.

One can see visually enchanting traditional designs like geometrical figurines juxtaposed against plants, birds and animals etc, on the Patan Patola silk sari, handkerchief, scarf or stole.

This unique 1,000 year-old art has been kept alive by a single family. Salvi Kanubhai Patolawala and his family members are the lone flag bearers of this traditional art and are among the most honoured artisans of India.

They come from a family of rich traditional artisans of Patan, who have mastered the art of double ikat that has been traditionally passed through generations.

The Salvi's have also been trying to keep up with modern times without compromising on the methods and processes that have been followed since centuries.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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