Detailed describing of the activities:
Rajan Vankar is a fourth-generation textile Master Weaver Artisan who was born into a traditional weaving family living in the Sarli village located in the Kutch region of India. He and his family have been creating intricately woven textiles for six generations. Rajan learned their traditional weaving techniques by watching his father and grandfather in his family’s workshop when he was a child and began exhibiting with his father when he was nine years old.
As Rajan honed his craft, he started to work with European designers such as Kavita Parmar of the IOU Project. These ongoing collaborations with various international designers give him the exposure he needs to understand the importance of modern contemporary designs in today’s fashion industry. He keeps these design concepts in mind as he incorporates them into the traditional weaving techniques of his family.
Rajan is highly skilled in mixing traditional and modern designs to produce high-quality one-of-a-kind hand-woven shawls and stoles. He hand-dyes his yarns with the help of his father and brother and his use of natural vegetable and azo free dyes results in the gorgeous colors of woven textiles which the Kutch region is known for. He was the first to introduce the use of pashmina yarn in his kutch weaving which is so highly sought after by collectors and works with a wide variety of materials including pure fine merino wool, tussar silk, natural hand-spun desi sheep wool, organic kala cotton, eri silk, and mulberry silk, just to name a few.
Rajan uses traditional shapes and geometric patterns that are symbolic and significant in the culture of his community. Frequently used motifs in his textiles include dhunglo and chaumukh which represent mountains, dhulki and landhar which embody a snake slithering, as well as sachi vaat which means true way of life, its geometric patterns inspired by nature motifs.
Rajan’s innovations on his traditional weaving techniques include weaving with shibori and clamp dyes, embroidery, and mirror work. He creates the embroidery designs and selects the colors, then the work is done by his mother and the women in his village. Rajan also provides economic opportunities to the women in his village by giving them the chance to do mirror work, make tassels and pompoms, warping looms, and winding bobbins.
At 20, Rajan has started to build an international reputation as a master weaver. His work has been selected by shows in 15 countries, including He is Participated in The First International Handicrafters Festival in Uzbekistan and the International Scientific Conference on Crafts in the Ukraine. His vision is to create an international market for his work in order to continue to support his family and the members of his community. He said “Loom is life for me”