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Thread-setters

It’s a women’s world in Assam’s handloom sector. Unlike other handloom centres such as Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, where men handle the weaving and women are restricted to pre-loom activities, in Assam women dominate the entire process, from spinning and dyeing to weaving and, ultimately, selling the finished product. Antaran, a Tata Trusts initiative, enables these women weavers to improve their skills and learn how to be entrepreneurs.

Renuka Kalita, from Nahira in Kamrup district, winds spun yarn on a bobbin in a pre-loom process.
Dipika Kakati and Mamani Kalita (Chapathuri village, Kamrup) prepare the warp, the base for weaving. Warping in Assam is still done using traditional methods.
Bijaya Das (foreground) and her sister, Thageshwari (Guimara village, Kamrup) provide finishing touches to the warp. Once the warp is completed, the process of denting and drafting the yarns follow, providing thickness and patterns to the fabric.
Lila Kalita (Chapathuri village, Kamrup)attaches the warp to the loom as she prepares for denting and drafting. This involves fitting the warp on the loom and layering the fibre according to the design.
Pallavi Medok from Dhemaji weaves traditional Assamese designs.
Firoja Begum (Simina village, Kamrup) hangs the woven fabric out to dry after washing it to remove stains.