At Tilfi, we preserve and celebrate the virtuosity of Banarasi artistry and craftsmanship. Taking pride in carrying forward this legacy, we endeavour to make timeless products that are inspired by tradition and propelled by innovation.
Take a step behind the curtain to discover the marvellous weaving techniques employed by our skilled craftsmen - capabilities that result in unforgettable textiles of profound beauty that you can cherish forever.
Phekwa is a weaving style in which the extra weft or the supplementary patterning weft is thrown across the width of the fabric using a shuttle. In the weaving process, the patterning weft runs from selvage to selvage and is interlaced between the structural yarns creating the textile. This technique leaves a float of threads on the reverse of the fabric, unlike those woven in kadwa style. This float of threads is sometimes left as is or cut right after the whole fabric has been woven.
The elaborate and laborious Kadwa technique is a style of discontinuous brocading used to incorporate motifs and patterns. In Kadwa weaving, each motif is woven separately as opposed to other Banarasi handloom textiles (namely, "phekwa" or cutwork textiles). The extra weft is inserted by the weaver individually for each motif and manually turned in. In this method, there are no loose threads at the back of the fabric and hence, no cutting is required. Using this technique, diverse motifs of different sizes, colours and textures can be woven on the same fabric, which is quite difficult to achieve otherwise. While this takes longer on the handloom, it makes a more robust pattern, which stands out on the fabric and has an embossed or “kadha-hua” appearance..
The Kadwa weaving technique cannot be replicated on a powerloom.
Cutwork is a subset of the Phekwa weaving style, wherein the loose threads on the reverse are neatly clipped away by hand after the textile has been woven. This presents a neater reverse and prevents the loose yarns from catching. A fine cutting process requires great precision and dexterity, and is often carried out by the women in the weaving households.
Tanchoi is a weaving technique that involves a single or double warp and multiple (usually two to five) coloured wefts, often of the same or very close shades. It produces a self-design, which covers the fabric and ensures that there is minimal float on the back. It is famed for the intricate and small weaving patterns all over the fabric.
The Kadiyal technique helps achieve a border in a sharply contrasting colour to the rest of the body of the garment, a feat in itself in handloom weaving. This requires careful dyeing and setting the warp in different colours and multiple changes in the weft shuttle while the textile is being woven. This style involves careful consideration and calculation during the weaving process.
Zari Vasketis a Banarasi weaving technique that has been passed down through generations. It involves the meticulous use of a supplemental zari weft throughout the body, which leaves minimal float on the back of the fabric. Textiles woven in this weaving style are adorned with all-over zari, which gives them a rich and lustrous appearance.
Jamdani is a weaving technique of fine loom-embroidery that traces its roots to the region of Dhaka in Bangladesh. Known for its extremely fine quality and ethereal appeal, Jamdani weaving comprises a discontinuous extra weft yarn that is woven into the threads of the warp. Most often, the patterns are made using heavier threads on a lighter, translucent fabric such as handwoven cotton or muslin. The painstaking process of patterning results in a light and comfortable textile with a reverse that is nearly indistinguishable from the front and has no float.
Over centuries of its existence, Banarasi weaving has incorporated many classic patterns and designs from India's vast and varied regions. At Tilfi, we conscientiously handcraft timeless pieces, which are inspired and influenced by some of the celebrated weaving traditions of other parts of India.
The endearing Baluchari is the traditional weaving of silk sarees that are famed for their pictorial borders and pallu with floral or geometric designs. In the 14th and 15th century, weavers from Varanasi migrated and settled in Baluchar, a village in Bengal. They handcrafted silk sarees in brocade-style with extra weft yarn in silk and not zari. Baluchari sarees, including Banarasi Balucharis, are known for their artistic motifs depicting scenes from the epics or sculptures made on historical temples, woven on its borders and pallu.
Traditionally handwoven by the resist dyeing process in a town called Patan in Gujarat, Patolas are double ikat sarees. Banarasi weavers, forever seeking inspiration, have adopted many distinctive Patola patterns and incorporated them in their weaving designs to make Banarasi Patolas. Unlike Gujarati Patolas, Banarasi Patolas involve the use of supplementary coloured yarns on a shuttle, which are then woven into the fabric to produce the final design.
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