Cotton hand-picking as local cottons have small pods at variable heights. Though the fibre is short stapled its highly irregular fibers conducive for hand-spinning.
Combing away of fibers from cotton seed with fish jaw bone/comb.
Separation of seed from fibre with metal rolling pin. Unbroken seeds are used for next planting and broken seeds are sold at half the cost of cotton pod as high protein animal feed to local animal herders.
Carding with bow brings old fibres in alignment.
Rolling of carded fibers into slivers with central gap over wooden pin so that fibers from center are ready for hand-spinning.
Hand-spinning on traditional spinning wheel with each sliver held between palm leaf so that even the heat of the hand does not hold back/pressurized the spinning from the central core.
Measuring of yarn into one meter lengths so that irregularities in spinning can be detected/checked before preparation of hank.
Weighing of twisted hanks to prevent any entanglement and calculation of count/fineness. The number of thousand meter hanks per kilo equals the count of the yarn. 100s count means a hundred thousand meter length make one kilo.
Dyeing of yarn in vat or other azo free or natural dyes.
Laying out of warp without metallic gold or silver yarns that do not require rice starch sizing with brush moving in single direction to ensure settling of all surface fibers and even shrinkage of yarn to facilitate weaving.
Joining of new warp to threads through reed and heeled before weaving starts.
Three shuttle weaving to achieve contrast color in borders and body with variable serrated edges.
Three pairs of hands working in unison on inlay patterned jamdani.
In the early 21st century, in the field of textiles, India has been fortunate to have pockets of hand skills that were and could be its greatest and most unique resource for future development given a form of limited period hand holding.
Far beyond its soft, supple breathable texture relevant for summers & winters, Taanbaan was careful in not competing in the handspun varieties with the machines made range. Also by introducing patterning in the weave or mixing of materials such as silks & metallic yarns to enhance the texture and strength of handspun handwoven, which too could not be easily replicated by machine for varied weight & usage. It belongs to the genre of ‘human handmade’ which creates its own benchmark whether the fabric is coarse & heavy or fine & translucent, suitable for seasonal & functional requirements.
These handspun hand-wovens work hand in hand with the cycle of nature particularly in the case of Desi local cottons in various hues of white to brown, cultivated between autumn & spring in soil & climate they have matured in, over hundreds of years fed only by rain & not dependent on irrigation, pesticide or fertilizer except a spray of neem oil for protection. In the case of silks hand reeling can provide a wider variety of texture which is not possible by mechanized spinning. The spinning/reeling & weaving skills have been practiced for hundreds of years & attuned by the practitioners to a refined state. Though the practitioners had the option of shifting to other mechanized alternatives, they have chosen to maintain their hand skills largely because of lower investments required, which they find easier to handle & thus have become a long standing tradition. One that is rare & somewhat endangered as quantitative production pushes out this recognition of quality. It is this skill level & knowledge base & continuity which preceded even the Gandhian hand-spinning movement.
Taanbaan believes hand-spun hand-woven is the research & development (R&D) base of the textile pyramid and needs to be sustained for textile development in the fast lane as well. These hand processed spun & woven range of products would also maintain a benchmark of the finest hand worked, patterned and plain fabrics. If their market outreach is strengthened, the entire chain could be made viable & sustainable in the long run. India could perhaps be the only country in the world with this unique resource for a national & international markets.