Taanbaan is a label that produces textiles of excellence in handspun/handwoven organic rain fed cottons & indigenous low twist silks. Taanbaan has worked with local cotton varieties which were conducive to organic cultivation & hand reeled silks. It is involved in research, revival & development of hand skill techniques in draped garments as well as home furnishings, accessories & stitched garments on request. Though the cost factor of the above processes remains a cause of concern, it is largely due to the small scale of the effort & could be curtailed with up-scaling to a limited extent, of raw material to end product by hand. Taanbaan was initiated by Rta Kapur Chishti, co-author and editor of the ‘Saris of India’ volumes, as well as ‘Handcrafted Indian Textiles -Tradition and Beyond’ & several other publications.
Rta Kapur Chishti is a recognized textile scholar, co-author and editor of the book, ‘Saris- Tradition & Beyond’ covering 15 states & the previously published ‘Saris of India’ volumes on Madhya Pradesh, Bihar & West Bengal as well as ‘Handcrafted Indian Textiles -Tradition and Beyond' with Martand Singh & Rahul Jain. She has been a contributing author to several other publications. As a writer and translator she has written of the life and work of craftspeople and scripted for films and exhibitions. She has been consistently involved with research and development of handspun-handwoven textiles from cultivation of the raw materials to all the hand processes involved to the weaving stage of saris, stoles, fabrics and home furnishings. She is founder of the “Sari School” which produces saris & fabrics, organizes workshops for those who wish to learn the wonders of this unstitched garment & make it more relevant to their lives today. She has also collaborated with ‘The Daksha Sheth Dance Company’ to develop the production titled, ‘SARI’, a tribute to the process of turning by hand, raw material into a wondrous woven unstitched garment.
The sari supports the livelihood of a million weavers, dyers and more. Contemporary aspiration and the forces of globalization offer an energizing challenge. As an extension of Taanbaan, ‘The Sari School’ was set up in 2009 to promote the usage, understanding, survival & re-creation of the unstitched garment.
Taanbaan as advisors collaborated with Border & Fall for the making of 82 short films on sari wearing styles directed by Bon Duke in New York, now available on youtube. Taanbaan also trained the models & loaned select saris from its collection for the films. This youtube project is an attempt to widen the outreach & to help interested individuals & groups to access more easily the sari wearing styles with their unlimited and ongoing possible variations.
In collaboration with The Daksha Sheth Dance Company, Tannbann has developed a dance theatre production titled 'SARI', a tribute to the process of turning by hand, raw materials into a wonderous woven unstitched garment. With live music especially composed by Devisaro and choreographed by Daksha Sheth for a one and half hour performance culminating in the sari's transformation from a two dimensions woven fabric to a three dimensional draped garment in accordance with select wearing styles.
Taanbaan has organized exhibitions of hand-spun/ hand-woven textiles along with workshops on request from sponsors including educational institutions, stores and corporate houses for their specific clientele in India and abroad. These exhibitions have represented the classic traditional as well as the contemporary application of traditional techniques, not easily replicable on machines.
Taanbaan with the idea of providing further impetus & energy, hopes to interact & pass on through various platforms to the future generation, the philosophy, knowledge base & know how in order to sustain the design, production & marketing of this unique range of products.
Taanbaan, supported the idea to initiate a bonus scheme for spinners & weavers who can reintroduce those who have left these vocations & joined the general deskilled labour market. The beneficiaries are likely to be both those who will reintroduce & those who are reintroduced into this vocation.
In an effort to widen the base of handspun-handlooms & also to bridge the ever widening gap between the well to do & those who have no opportunities for meaningful employment in the present phase of rapid industrialization. Taanbaan has proposed a rehab program of one year for the urban/rural poor especially people reduced to begging in the streets who will be involved through food for work programmes & trained in hand spinning, weaving & stitching of cotton, silk tussar & eri fabrics. They will thereafter be rehabilitated in their respective villages & their production supported by design & quality supervision by a state team with its central counterparts. It is also a means of building a future in which India could perhaps be the only country that could retain a space & relevance for hand skills in low tech areas