After we launched Collectivitea, social media algorithms started showing me lots of accounts/ventures that had the word ‘collective’ in them and this is one algorithm change that I am grateful for because it has led me to discover organizations doing awesome work. One of them is Maggam Collective and founder Jyothi Sista shares the story of this small Indian organization that is doing its part towards the preservation of hand-loom textiles. I just have one thing to add- I am from India, and have always felt that it’s easy to take textile-related traditions, talents and practices for granted because of the overwhelming variety and ability that one sees from a very early age. From the woman who sews and embroiders and runs a small business from her house, to the corner tailor, the cooperative handloom and weaving communities, to automated mills- there is so much abundance that one is spoilt for choice and sometimes, we become inured to how special these traditions and practices are. It’s wonderful to see the resurgence of interest, appreciation and support for them within the larger society.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” So am I – greater than the total of what went into making me, done to me. I am not an archaic, outdated relic of the past, but am an adaptable, weaving technology of the future with a low-carbon footprint. Ikats, Dakai, Mangalgiri, Tussar, Kosa, Chanderi, Maheshwari, Sambalpuri, Chettinads are some of my forms. I am durable, breathable and pretty too! I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t wear me. “
“I am Jyothi, a retired teacher with an undying passion for hand looms (and handmade goods in general)- not only are they ethically made, sustainable and versatile, but also are a great way to support artisans anywhere since it requires a bit of awareness and empathy towards the makers.I have been wearing hand looms for decades now, and my daughters, unsurprisingly, followed suit. It is probably the most agreed idea at home! Instagram and social media are new to me. But when I started browsing Instagram first a few months ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the steadily growing love for hand looms (and saris!). Decades of donning hand looms have given me the opportunity to meet scores of weavers and women’s cooperatives. While it is a pleasure to watch them weave and work, I have always felt that their work deserved a wider audience. It is no secret that most artisans are debt-ridden. While that situation is improving, I didn’t see a reason for them to be excluded from the fast-saturating, online shopping space, through transparent pricing. After all, one of the ideas of commerce is economic development, isn’t it? While my humble venture is currently about niche hand looms that are timeless, the Social Studies teacher in me looks at it as a teeny contribution to the weaving society.”
You can find Maggam Collective on Instagram and shop their collection of saris and other textiles. And yes, they ship worldwide!
All images are courtesy of Maggam Collective and are taken by Ankitha Sista.