It’s not every day you hear durries being called works of art. But in the case of Sutra Durries, that would be an understatement. The project has turned around the way one looks at Warangal durries with their experimental designs.
A fledgling venture started by National Institute of Design student Satish Nagendra Poludas in a small apartment in Madhapur in 2016, the project has led to an infusion of new patterns in a craft that is plagued by monotony and lack of vision. Boring stripes are done way with in favour of bold designs and vivid hues, think zig zag tribal designs, bold tiger motifs splayed across the durrie and floral geometric patterns in bright shades of red, fuchsia, indigo and green.
A regular pattern durrie may take one day to make, but since the designs are elaborate here, it takes 4-5 days to complete one durrie. “What I have observed is most cooperative societies use standard designs which haven’t been changed for many years. So the weaver also gets into this never ending cycle where he is not interested in creating something new. It took a lot of persuasion on our part to get them to come aboard,” recalls Satish. Working with 15 weavers from the two clusters of Venkateshwarpalli and Pullugurtha, Sutra Durrie turns out close to 120 durries in a month.
Not wanting to be dependent upon others in any part of the weaving process, everything from the yarn making, dyeing to the actual weaving part is done by them. “We are using reactive dyes for the colour which is an accepted practice throughout the globe and eco-friendly. We plan to set up a dyeing facility soon,” says Satish whose brand is one of the many initiatives that come under KORA, which he describes as a grassroot-based organisation involved in research and innovation in weaving across different states of the country. Besides Sutra Durrie, one of their initiatives was getting womenfolk from rural households in Bihar to work with khadi. “It was a very successful project. Infact, Delhi Public School students now wear Khadi uniforms made by these women,” shares Satish.
However for all their good work, their biggest challenge remains recalcitrant weavers and TESCO itself. “Same dharrhe mein chalna hai, creativity ki koi jagah nahi hai. Majority of the weavers are working under cooperative societies who persuade the government to give them most of the orders. So what happens is though each durrie costs Rs 200, the weaver actually gets Rs 40 in the entire process while the rest is kept by the societies to make up the production costs. The profit margin for the societies is immense while weaver continues to struggle. We want to change that but it will take time,” says Satish.