The Kala Swaraj Foundation is working to revive handloom weaving in a small village in Madhya Pradesh, which used to have the largest population of handloom weavers in India. However, since machine weaving was introduced by British rule in the late 1700s, the craft has been dying out. While there were once 7,000 weaving families in Madhya Pradesh, now only about 500 are still weaving. However, as the Kala Swaraj Foundation states on their website, “Many people are coming back to understanding the economic wisdom and beauty of producing things slowly by hand, but unfortunately, around the world, much of the knowledge and skills that is needed for artisanal production has already been lost.” Reviving these skills is at the heart of the Kala Swaraj Foundation’s mission.
Artisans at the Kala Swaraj Foundation created custom stripes, checks, and ginghams for Lekha. The Kala Swaraj Foundation partnered with us on these select pieces, providing organic muslin that is also handmade by artisans in Madhya Pradesh to produce the softest texture.
Our founder, Trishala, has family from Madhya Pradesh, which is one of the reasons she feels compelled to work with artisans within the state. We treasure our collaboration with the Kala Swaraj Foundation and are honored to help support the work of these families who are reviving the handloom weaving skills in Madhya Pradesh. By putting the power back into the hands of the artisans, the economy in these rural villages is revitalized for a more sustainable economic system and future.