Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



From Creating Textiles: Makers, Methods, Markets. Proceedings of the Sixth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Inc. New York, NY, September 23–26, 1998 (Earleville, MD: Textile Society of America, Inc., 1999).


Copyright © 1998 by the author(s)


It is my ongoing attraction for, and love of, Indian textiles that brought me back to my country of birth after spending several years, studying and working, in New York. This paper deals with my research, experience and observations, over the last year, working closely with the hand-weaving industry in India.

At my design studio, in Bangalore, I have a multi-treadle handloom and have employed a local hand-weaver. We create the designs and make sample swatches at the studio. For production of yardage, based on our swatches, we work with various weaving centers, located in different Southern Indian villages. Depending on the techniques and fibers used in the textile, we choose the appropriate center. Presently my clientele and markets are: local Indian high-end fashion designers and International cos. such as NUNO Corporation, Japan; Royal Scandinavia ltd., Denmark.

Textiles have always been an important trade activity in India. Before the arrival of the Europeans to the shores of India- Arab traders had set-up, a trade pattern of gold bullion-for textiles- for spices. In 1498, by the arrival of Vasco de Gama to India, the Portuguese usurped this trade pattern from the Arabs. Between 1550 and 1600 other Europeans began trading along the West African coast and into the. Indian Ocean. By 1600, the Portuguese began to feel the competition of the Dutch traders. The English established a trading presence in India in the early 17th century, alongside the Portuguese, French and Dutch. Having arrived to trade, the English increasingly took a hold on the reins of government. This was consolidated over the next 100 years with the spread of British rule over most of the Subcontinent, and then brought to fruition as the all-powerful British Raj of the late nineteenth century.