The Barabanki handloom cluster produces a wide range of products that are in high demand in domestic markets. It is the heart of zari and applique-and-cut work.
The Barabanki cluster falls in the Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh state. There are around 50,000 weavers and 20,000 looms in Barabanki and adjoining areas. In addition, there are a number of traders and auxiliary support providers. The annual turnover of the Barabanki cluster is projected to be ₹150 crore. The main products are scarves, shawls and stoles, which have a good export market. The mobilisation of resources and labour is producing refined results day by day.
Raw Materials: The basic raw materials are silk, zari, cotton, polyester, jacquard loom and dori. The decorative material needed is peacock feathers and colour used is bukani (colour powder).
About 95 per cent of the revenue of this handloom cluster is from exports. Most of the services are contracted out by cluster players to meet a huge demand in a limited period. The cluster offers scarves and stoles and some of the designs have export potential in some of the Middle East and European countries. Dyeing techniques of the cluster have improved and several dyeing houses have been established for better quality.
Process: The design is initially hand-drawn on paper and then shifted to the yarn to weave through warp and weft. This jaal (mesh) effect is hovered from top of the loom and attached to the warp threads and only the controlled warp threads are elevated as per the design. Extra weft threads of zari/silk are inserted in the raised portions, row by row, along with the running weft thread. The jala device has been replaced by the punched cards; the jacquard looms for these brocade decorations. Gyasar, the Tibetan woven offerings are very closely woven. Apart from the silk/zari thread, peacock feathers are used in a satin weave to produce an entire surface of the feathers. The motifs are rushed on different colours like dark red, yellow, blue and white satin ground with use of gold and silver zari.
Applique-and-cut technique: Chikan embroidery is characterised by the art woven by white threads. It can be weaved from the front as well as back of the cloth. Some stitches are worked from the front of the fabric, others from the back. There are mainly six types of stitches that are done for chikan embroidery.
Pulled work (known as jaali), which means a gap with a prickled web, peeping through which we can see the other side easily, and khatao, applique-and-cut technique, where one section of fabric is hemmed on to another piece and later cut away.
The Barabanki cluster was only known for lungis or gamchhas earlier. The cluster now offers an exquisite range of products like scarves, stoles and shawls. In straight lines, geometric patterns and bold designs, Barabanki products carry a blend of fragility with concrete, yet a supple, mix in textiles. The stoles and scarves are in high demand by customers from Middle East and Europe. Speckled uses and dark shades on the upholstery fabrics is an added option of specialty products from this cluster. Be it curtains, bed spreads, bed sheets, covers shades, or merely window dressings, textile products from Barabanki have left an indelible mark in the minds of customers from across the globe.