Rema Kumar is back with her Textile Tales exhibition in the city after three years
With over 20 years of experience in the textile industry, this Delhi-based designer Rema Kumar has worked with a large cross-section of weavers and craftsmen from Kanchipuram to Uttarakhand. Started in 2001, the Facebook page under her name has more than 50,000 followers to date. Although the designer is coming to Chennai after a gap of three years, she has been busy in Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Rema took to designing at a very young age and now she has mastered the fusion of various weaves like batik, Ajrakh, kalamkari, patti kam and more.
Kumar holds a Masters in Textiles and Clothing from JBAS college in Chennai. “My forté is to work with craftsmen and weavers from across India. I don’t restrict myself to a particular region and I am very open to weavers who are willing to work with me,” she shares. Over the years, she has worked with artisans from Orissa, Chattisgarh, Assam, Uttarakhand and Gujarat.
Mosaic of threads
Her three-day Textile Tales exhibition in the city will have colourful pipli applique, pattachitra traditions and palm leaf engraving that are native to Orissa and mostly based on the Lord Jagannath temple. “These colourful scroll-paintings and delicate palm-leaf engravings are taken from characters in the Hindu mythology. During my residency last year in Orissa, I developed the idea of using blocks inspired by borders and motifs.” Uttarakhand is another place she has been working in for the past 12 years. She calls them the Uttara cotton saris because of the beauty of their drapes and adds that twills are hard to achieve especially in a cotton sari.
The exhibition will also include Chanderi with ajrakh block prints, concentrating more on geometric patterns of circles and less of the usual florals extending to linen with embroidery, dori and kotas with aari work. Pick from their limited edition of mix and match blouse, kurtas, palazzos, dupattas and stoles in pastels, monochromes and indigos. “People are updating themselves about the textiles of India through social media whereas earlier they never used to look beyond Kanjivaram,” she shares.
Yards of the future
Kumar is currently working on Assamese tribal weaves. “Women of Assam are more work driven and are spared with little or no time for weaving,” says the designer. Additionally, instead of saris with heavy work, she will be working on a mix of Benaresi silk cotton formal saris that are light in weight and bear ajrakh prints. “I directly go the loom, look at the colours of yarn that are lying around and think of possible designs. So I don’t follow any trends as such,” wraps up Rema.
`1,800. From February 8-11 at Manorama, T Nagar.