Warangal: With the objective of reviving the rich legacy of traditional artisans who are eking out a living for several decades making hand embroidery, bobbin lace, tatting lace, cross stitch, and peepal leaf painting, the Union Ministry of Textiles in association with the Telangana State Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited is making all efforts to breathe new life into this fading art. As part of this exercise, 300 artisans have been given special training in those arts, mainly in hand embroidery, at Nirmalamatha Devalayam (church) at Station Ghanpur town in Jangaon district since 2018 through conducting integrated workshops by experts from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Hyderabad, and others under the Integrated Design and Technological Development Project.
According to official sources, Station Ghanpur and surrounding villages are home to five exclusive crafts such as hand embroidery, bobbin lace, tatting lace, cross stitch, and peepal leaf painting, and there are about 2,000 to 3,000 craftsmen in these fields. Earlier, they used to export the products to Europe and other western countries. “They were provided training and helped to earn a good income to lead lives when Fr Colombo, who used to live in Kazipet, used to export the crafts to the western countries, mainly Italy. But when Fr Colombo died in 2009, the crafts cluster lost its sheen. Due to this, a lot of craftsmen were left unemployed,” K Ashwin Kumar, an expert textile and fashion designer from NIFT told Telangana Today.
Following this, the office of the Development Commissioner of Handicrafts in collaboration with Telangana State Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited took up the task of uplifting the craft cluster. Since then they have been conducting training programmes and design workshops for the benefit of the artisans, who hail mainly from the downtrodden sections of society. NID, NIFT Designers, and other renowned Design Institute students have been intervening in design programmes in these clusters.
The Telangana State Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited is promoting the crafts through their own Brand “Golkonda Handicrafts Emporiums” in various parts of the state and country with its chain of 10 stores and more to be added in the future.
Hymavathi, a master craftsperson, said many women from Ghampur, Ayodya, Karunapuram, Chinna Pendial, and about 20 other villages were involved in these crafts for about 40 years.
“We have been making the intricately weaved Bobbin Lace on dresses and sarees as it gives a new look to their outfit. Bobbin Lace is made by twisting of thread and the weaving with a set of pins on a pillow, and as it is worked on a pillow it is also known as Pillow lace,” she said, adding that the age-old tradition of Bobbin Lace was fading away due to poor patronage following the death of Colombo and no market in India.
“But the government is helping us to revive the old craft by providing training in new designs which are in demand in India at present. They are also helping us to market the crafts including Handmade Embroideries,” she added.
The Bobbin Lace, which is an ancient craft that originated in Europe, was introduced erstwhile Warangal by Christian missionaries whose vestments were decorated with lace. A piece of Lace fabric is lightweight, delicate with openwork, and is made with the simple tools-threads wound on bobbins, pins, and a tightly stuffed cushion. Pin Lace or Bobbin lace of Kazipet is a surface made by intertwining threads and forming chains with the help of pins. It is finer and different from the crochet lace made in Narasapur, West Godavari district, which has a large cluster of crochet lacemakers.
“Machine embroidery cannot replace the skills of traditional artisans. There is a need to preserving our rich embroidery styles for the future generation,” said Thatikonda Dhana, an artisan. It is said that they sell customized portraits of handmade embroidery between Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 each.
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