Hemalatha Jain brings the Hubli sari to Bengaluru

The designer is also behind the revival of the patteda anchu and gomi teni weaves

Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo Published :  01st February 2019 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  01st February 2019 12:00 AM

WHILE researching the ancient patteda anchu weave, textile revivalist, Hemalatha Jain, stumbled upon a sari sample with two chains of flowers running parallel to its borders. She tried to find out about the origins of the weave, but being elbow deep in resurrecting the patteda anchu, she put it off for some time.

It was only last year that she revisited this weave, which she found out is called the Hubli sari. “One of my weavers’ 85-year-old father was the one who identified it. He recalled that he used to weave it when he was 16. When we put the sample through a scientific test to determine its age, we found out that the sari is 103 years old,” Hemalatha tells us.

A weaver from Punarjeevana
A weaver at the loom

The collection, designed and conceptualised by Hemalatha, through her organisation, Punarjeeva, will be launched at Kamalini, the store by Crafts Council of Karnataka tomorrow. Though woven in Gajendragad, Gadag and Bagalkot, the sari gets its name from the place where it used to be sold. While the floral motif is used in a number of other saris, such as Ilkal and Narayanpet, the way it is used here (two lines of flowers at each border) is different. Made from 100 per cent cotton, the warp is always off-white while the weft is usually a bright colour. 

“I have modernised the sizing of the sari and have also given it a new look with unique colours. Other than that, the original design is intact. My main aim is to enable weavers to support themselves and bring back the love for these old weaves,” says Hemalatha, who is also reviving gomi teni saris, known for their motifs that resemble jowar stalks. The colour palette, though traditionally either purple and red, maroon and green or yellow and red, has been altered to suit modern tastes, with options such as orange and red, blue and pink, and red and black. 

Since Hemalatha started her work in 2014, her weaving cluster has grown from one to 45 weavers. The patteda anchu is currently so popular that she has expanded into creating handspun versions with natural dyes. “At the end of the day, it is important for me that people get to know about these weaves and revive old traditions,” she signs off. 

Rs.1,900 upwards. At Malleswaram