A handloom textile passes through many hands before it is finally held by the wearer.
Varanasi's crafts ecosystem is home to a multitude of highly specialised artisans who are the cornerstone of every Tilfi garment. Today and every day, we are proud to celebrate our talented craftspeople and their exceptional craftsmanship that brings beauty to life,
one thread at a time.
नक्शाबंद - Grapher of the Weaver's Blueprint
A nakshaband’s job is one of exceptional geometric and spatial precision, mastered over decades. Once the weaving design is finalized, the nakshaband translates it onto a large graph paper, inch-wise.
मिस्त्री - The Jacquard Mechanic
A Jacquard mistri (mechanic) hand-makes and fixes the Jacquard machine, a shedding device installed on the handloom to lift the warp ends and assist the weaver in the complex patterning that Banarasis are known for.
गेठुआ कारीगर - Architects of the Warp
Gethua wali dadis, as they are lovingly called in the community, are experts at setting up the gethuas or heddles of the loom, which are used for the raising or lowering process of warp threads.
दागवाले - Alchemists of Blemishes
Daagwale are artisans who have expertise in removing fabric stains and enhancing woven textiles without compromising their quality. Sometimes, zari bootis can be enhanced by rubbing real silver coins over them.
रफूगर - Fixers of Flaws
A handloom rafoogar is a master at fixing the tiniest of tears and flaws on textiles. Using extra yarns, they create structures similar to that of the base fabric, making the rips almost invisible.
कतोरना - Crafts(wo)men of Cutwork
For making some sarees, the final step is cutting floats on the back of the fabric by hand. Skilled katornas speedily and accurately perform this painstaking task, where even the slightest incorrect snip can damage the fabric and undo months of weaving effort.
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