Collection: Semi- Arid Collection

5 products
  • Chokhla Wool Cushion Cover with extra weft stripes and motifs
    Vendor
    Rangsutra
    Regular price
    from Rs. 1,200.00
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    from Rs. 1,200.00
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  • Chokhla Wool Cushion Cover with extra weft along with embroidery detailing
    Vendor
    Rangsutra
    Regular price
    Rs. 1,100.00
    Sale price
    Rs. 1,100.00
    Regular price
    Unit price
    per 
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  • Chokhla Wool Cushion Cover with extra weft thick stripes
    Vendor
    Rangsutra
    Regular price
    Rs. 1,200.00
    Sale price
    Rs. 1,200.00
    Regular price
    Unit price
    per 
    Sold out
  • Chokhla Wool Cushion Cover with extra weft thick stripes and motifs
    Vendor
    Rangsutra
    Regular price
    Rs. 1,200.00
    Sale price
    Rs. 1,200.00
    Regular price
    Unit price
    per 
    Sold out
  • Chokhla Wool Cushion Cover with extra weft thin stripes
    Vendor
    Rangsutra
    Regular price
    from Rs. 1,200.00
    Sale price
    from Rs. 1,200.00
    Regular price
    Unit price
    per 
    Sold out

About the Semi-Arid Landscape

"
We wrap our relationship with the weavers closely around us" 
~ says Harkuben Rabari, a sheep and goat herder, pointing to the handwoven Dhabda ( a blanket) and her wedding Ludi (shawl worn by a Rabari woman). 

Weather can be extremely harsh on the bare, barren expanses of west India. And so, wool, the most versatile of textile fibres, has been a constant companion in the lives of herders of the arid, semi-arid, and savannah landscapes of the region. These lands continue to be home to impressive herds of foraging goats, sheep, camels and cattle. The famed shepherds of Rajasthan and Kachchh ~ Rabaris, Raikas, Bharwads, Gujjars, Sindhi, and Rajputs ~ have all crafted a life in tune with the rhythms of this capricious climate.

The sheep of these regions are known for their ability to graze all day on little water or food, under the harshest of suns. And their keepers too are amongst the most mobile of pastoralists, traversing vast terrains, always on the move, in search of graze and water.  No wonder, the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat harbour some of the most precious animal genetic resources of the country. Rajasthan alone is the native tract for eight indigenous sheep breeds of India, while Gujarat accounts for another three.

Naturally then, the arid west is also home to a wide variety of wool craft practises. The elegant craft products never fail to grab attention in the backdrop of monochrome landscapes that stretch into hazy horizons.

Extremely versatile, the wool on the sheep’s back serves many purposes. It protects the sheep in its initial days; gets shorn at the onset of summer and the onset of monsoon; and then rediscovers itself as pieces of textiles. Textiles that protect the herders from the heat, cold, and the rain! 

“Our ties with the Bharwad herders have stood since eternity. Even to this day, Bharwad brides wear the tangaliya skirt that we weave”
~ Ramjibhai, a Tangaliya weaver from the village of Ghanetar in East Kutch

The wool crafting chain starts with the herder communities themselves ~ the older men, especially, are obsessive spinners, spinning continuously on a takli as they move with their animals. The women of the herding families, however, are the real experts in spinning fine, strong yarn. 

“ It was not uncommon for a Rabari to come to the loom and count the warp threads to ensure the quality of the product.”
~Shamjibhai speaking about the close relationship between the weavers and their 
patrons, the herders enjoyed back in time

The herders were known to be sticklers for quality, often challenging the Marwada weavers to reach higher levels of finesse. The Dhabdas and the Pattus of these regions remain some of the most fascinating pieces of living textile heritage, known for their versatility. They are often used as shawls, blankets, lightweight mattresses, as well as improvised sacks to carry stuff.

These lands are also home to nomadic looms. These basic looms have often been carried on the herders’ trails and used to weave tough Kharads, each built to last a hundred years.

“2019 was an especially difficult year for us. There had been little rains for four years and we had no work. So we turned back to our craft of felting after 12 long years.”
~ Gul Mamad bhai, a felt artisan based in Todiya village,m Kutch. 

Development in the form of tar roads was late in finding its feet on these lands which made Horses and Camels indispensable for transport. And a large community of felters took it upon themselves to make felted saddles for the riders. Patterned in brilliant colours, even today, there remain a few makers of these textiles whose saddles continue to be sought and bought. 

Rajasthan and Gujarat are also known for producing most of the carpet wools of India. Wools from the famed Chokla and Magra sheep stand out for their texture, shine, and spring; they are considered one of the best wools for carpets. Bikaner, the land of these sheep, also hosts the largest wool mandi in Asia, as well as over 100 spinning mills which process 4 lakh kilos of wool in a day! 

Desi Oon brings collections of products from Khamir and Rangsutra. Khamir, a platform for the crafts, heritage and cultural ecology of the Kachchh region of Gujarat, is well known for its work with Kala cotton. Khamir has been working with the Patanwadi sheep wool and wool artisans of Kutch to revive the local wool economy for three years now. Rangsutra, is a company owned by a community of over two thousand artisans across rural India. It acts as a bridge between rural artisans and global consumers in order to develop sustainable livelihoods and revive India’s rich craft heritage. Rangsutra has presented a special range of home furnishing for this exhibition.