In our latest issue, Issue 93: Rethink we look at jamdani, one of Bangladesh's finest heritage weaving techniques. Here, Jay Harley, owner of the London fabric shop, Cloth House, talks about sourcing and stocking this special fabric.
“One of our favourite fabrics to stock in the shop is Jamdani. It is one of the most traditional crafts and is immediately precious to touch. A soft cotton with a beautiful fragility, often described as woven air because if how light and translucent it is. This is a hand loomed muslin fabric featuring motifs of flowers and geometric designs. Jamdani translates as “vase of flowers” because on a fabric this fine the flowers and motifs appear to float.”
“The weaving of Jamdani requires a lot of skill. Each motif is added by hand during the weaving process using a supplementary thread that is woven between the finer weft threads. The designs are kept in the weaver’s heads and they count the threads as they go to keep track of where the next motif starts. This is one of the most labour-intensive forms of hand weaving and it takes two people sitting side by side to keep count of the threads.”
“There has been a decline in traditional handloom weaving since the early 19th century so traditionally made Jamdani are becoming harder to source. Often the only way to ensure the fabric is being prepared traditionally and dyed with natural dye is to visit the weavers themselves and to watch the process. We have always stocked Jamdani in our store and we will continue to support the craft, preserve its rich history and champion the heritage of the fabric.”
“Jamdani is beautiful to wear and is a versatile fabric popular with makers and fashion designers alike. It is one of the lightest and coolest cloths, perfect for saris, summer shirts and dresses or draped as curtains.”
Cloth House Soho stocks a collection of Jamdani which is also available online at www.clothhouse.com.