India, Vankar Vishram Valji Weaving / Shamji Vankar Vishram Valji, Handweaving
A hub for weaving and dyeing, Vankar Vishram Valji Weaving is one of the most beloved spots to observe India’s artisanal history and talent. Led by the master weaver, Vankar Shamji Vishram, it has become one of the most successful weaving centers with his artistry used all over India. Vishram learned the weaving and dyeing processes by spending time at his father’s production unit. Thriving in the landscape of Kachchh, he has put together 60 families of weavers and dyers who collaboratively create fabrics of cotton and wool that are then transformed into carpets, stoles, scarves, and more - depending on the designer’s vision. Centering around the idea of community and home, they work unitedly to produce high-quality textiles.
Shamji Vankar Vishram Valji carries on the legacy of his father, Vankar Vishram Valji who was felicitated with the National Award in 1974 for his exemplary work in Dhabla weaving. Shamji bhai who is himself an innovative weaver and an early adopter of kala cotton, oversees Vankar Vishram Valji Weaving, a multigenerational craft initiative for weaving and dyeing of fabrics. Over the last 20 years, Shamji bhai has transformed the venture into a prosperous business with clients in India and abroad. His journey as a weaver and entrepreneur has brought recognition as master craftsman and the UNESCO Seal of Excellence and also is a chronicler of his family, Bhujodi village, and the narrative of handloom weaving.
In 2014 he participated in a project titled ‘Hand Made’ exhibited in Bunka Gakuen University that highlighted the handmade qualities of traditional textiles produced in Bhujodi including Kala cotton. He participated in the project ‘Cotton Exchange: A Material Response’ in 2015 which compared and contrasted the social, cultural and historical legacies of cotton manufacture and trade between England and India, using Kala cotton that was handspun partly in Kutch and in the UK and dyed with iron and indigo. These international collaborations heightened the global awareness of the potential of Kala cotton. Recipient of many awards, Shamji Vankar Vishram Valji epitomises holistic development for the preservation of heritage, skill, ecology, identity, and knowledge.
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