 Back to Textiles

A Warm Web of Productions

Craft Documentation | Re-interpretation |
System Design

24 Weeks

Graduation Project guided by Sanjay Garg, 
and faculty guide Swasti Singh Ghai
Sponsored by Raw Mango Pvt. Ltd. | 2020 
The project  is centered around the craft of pattu weaving  which is an expression of a tradition from wool based parts of Western Rajasthan. Traditionally pattus were woven with desi wool with multicoloured patterning. A multi-purpose textile, it is an integral part of their social and cultural living with significance in the wedding rituals.

It commenced with the initial brief to document traditional practice of pattu weaving and designing new collections of textiles centered on use of local materials for the contemporary niche urban market. The aim was to support the craft and introduce product diversification for the brand.

This can be seen as merely laying the foundation for something which can slowly but exponentially, grow for the brand and the cluster in Dhanau in the future. This undertaking with Raw Mango has helped gain factual, practical grip and empathy towards building something from the ground up.

About Pattu Weaving

The men of Meghwal community have traditionally been practicing weaving as their livelihood making a wide range of pattus such as kashida pattu, baradi, bhojasari and hiravali pattu. The fabric is worked upon on a pit loom and countless patterns are created through the methods of interlocking and extra weft figuring, giving embroidery-like appearance.

The desert of Northwestern India experiences extreme temperatures from freezing cold at night to the intense heat of the mid-day, making wool an essential material for protection. The pastoral communities raise livestock and provide for the coarse but strong and durable wool. This wool was spun into yarn by the women and the elderly as spinning was a domestic activity then.

The men can be seen wrapped in big woollen blankets which later are folded and slings over their shoulders as it gets hot. Women also wear woollen head coverings and skirts made from similar fabrics.

Pattu Weaving: From the Mid 20th Century to Present

Seen below is a representation of a long timeline spanning over generations where collective contribution of anonymous people, seldom assuming the role of a designer consciously, have interacted with the craft and given solutions in response to the changes and events in the physical and socio-cultural environment from the 1940’s to the present day.

DHANAU, BARMER: New Cluster 

An active cluster was identified in Dhanau, Barmer where the weavers were making pattu with the indigenous wool. This remote cluster provided scope for community-building as the very use of wool denotes the collaboration of the shepherd and the weaver community.

We divided the field work into two visits. These were a combined visit for research, sampling of the designs and documentation. This would allow for a better understanding of the surroundings, the way of living, traditional arts and crafts.
Barmer map

New Discoveries & Directions

The project scope broadened to include resource mapping, sourcing, training and system development.

The methodology adopted for research on the field was snowball sampling, unstructured observations, interviews, photography and videography.

The objective behind this was to understand the functioning fully and to find opportunities for design intervention while experiencing the culture. It emphasised on how a high-end brand works with Indian traditional handlooms to cater to a contemporary market.
Flow chart for supply chain


Since the product was being developed from scratch, sourcing of yarn was done parallel to exploring and achieving the fabric structure and translation of design from paper to loom. A lot of trial and error was a part of the process. In the first visit the focus was on the yarn sourcing and trying different fabric constructions and warp patterns. This led to physical changes in the loom including making of new reeds and new shafts.

Working with the Weavers 
Sampling was done with a group of weavers who were all less than 40 years of age. These weavers have adapted to pattu well and have modified looms to be able to develop newer products and designs.

They take orders from the master weaver, Modaram ji. He is like a father figure to all the young weavers whom we worked with for this project and has helped many of them find regular work and orders. He is an enterprising and zealous man and has been awarded Nation Merit Award for his contribution in this regard by the Government.

His sensitivity to contemporary design and innovative ideas were a massive help during sampling.

A lot of this experimentation required working with the weavers side by side as they wove. Constant discussions about the various possibilities took place. This gave the weavers an opportunity to be creative and they would enthusiastically contribute to these discussions. The weavers were extremely forthcoming and accommodating. Their reluctance to change their ways only came up when desi oon was being used for warp.

Concept Creation & Design Development

The design development and conceptualisation has been a constant step and area of exploration overlapping other operations during the course of this project. As the inspiration came from the rich textile from around the world, based on the visual and graphic vocabulary the theme was divided into three broad categories of traditional, striped and minimal moods, discussed in the document in detail. 

Conceptually, the designs were initially explored looking at only the visual elements. The ideas were represented through artwork and were refined keeping in mind the new limitations and requirements set by the structure with each sampling visit.

Questioning the changes...

With the emergence of small weaving centres such as the
one started by Govindji himself, the activities around weaving are getting eliminated from the house chores and becoming a part of the organised sector. This is a good change but at the same time one can question the slow disappearance of weaving traditions that earlier involved the entire family.

For a comprehensive look at the journey and story behind this project, check out the link to my thesis document* below


*Student document publication meant for private circulation only. All rights reserved. All content © 2021 Shreya Parasrampuria. All other images and illustrations above are owned by the author of this document.