Stunning Eri silk is hand-woven on bamboo looms and then dipped in low-impact dyes to create these beautiful scarves. They are created by women weavers of the indigenous Bodo tribes in northeast India.
Eri is cruelty-free silk, so-called because the silk moths are allowed to mature and fly away before cocoons are collected. This results in a greater degree of fiber purity, emphasizing the natural luster of the silk. Commercially-farmed silk moths are killed in the cocoon before the silk is harvested.
Silk cloth is woven on zidagar frame looms. These looms are crafted from bamboo and other locally available materials. The artisan carefully strings threads vertically upon the loom. She then weaves horizontal interlacing threads in decorative patterns.
Approximately 12" x 65".
This elegant hand-woven silk scarf is from an artisan cooperative in Assam which employs indigenous Bodo women weavers. Artisans are able to learn skills which help them renegotiate their social position in their families and communities. The cooperatives organization aids in women coming together, providing more opportunities for women on key issues. They also provide education for their children and to acquire comforts to make their day-to-day tasks easier.
These artisans live in an area that has been mired in conflict for over a decade and is environmentally and economically unstable. Annual unpredictable monsoon flooding devastates farmland in this agriculture-dependant region. As a result of these instabilities many people experience poverty and landlessness.
This cooperative was formed as a project of a local non-governmental organization. The project was designed to tap into the existing skills of Bodo weavers to expand income opportunities for women. They made a commitment to work specifically with the poorest of the weavers in this region and continue to do so today. The group steadily grew, forming a trust employing over one-hundred local weavers.
Each woman is a partial owner able to participate in discussions and elect board members annually. In addition to pay based on volume of fabric produced, women also receive bonuses and medical coverage. This program offers a crucial source of cash income for artisan families, ensuring fair and steady income to weavers.
The founding NGO continues to reach out to the poorest weavers through a program which offers scholarships for the poor, especially those with no land or permanent home, to enroll in a three to four month training program. Girls and women are taught a useful and wide range of both academic and practical skills during this time. They earn money throughout the program and are the end of the program they have the opportunity to join the cooperative if they choose.