Pasinam: process

In sculpture, art, literature and weave, the parrot is a recognised and much loved motif. Closely linked with the God of Love, Kama, this beautiful bird, rich in symbology, is a recurring motif on bridal accoutrements. 

The Ekavalli Foundation – Kanakavalli’s crafts initiative – celebrates love and union in the timeless beauty and crafted skill of the Pasinam kanjivaram.  The name is drawn from old Tamil Sangam literature and translates to ‘a flock of parrots’. 

Across the body of this kanjivaram is an intricate medley of parrot and floral motifs, appearing in striking relief, composed of about six repeats. Every repeat represents 54 parrots, each unique in style. Diamonds and fine paisley motifs adorn the border. The pallu is woven with a diamond pattern, flanked by peacock, paisley and geometric motifs. These figured embellishments on the Pasinam sari are handwoven in the laborious adai technique in fine gold zari. 

Woven on a specially constructed hand loom by a highly skilled weaver , each sari takes approximately 40 days to weave. The process of documenting, transcribing and preparing the loom and design before weaving took over 6 months.

Here is the process that went into bringing this design to loom and life –

The intricate design for the Pasinam sari is meticulously drawn by hand before it is traced onto a graph and then digitised. The pattern is then ready for the loom, on which the kanjivaram is handwoven.

The beautifully dyed skeins of yarn are spun onto traditional bamboo spools, after which they are loaded onto the delicate bobbins. The bobbins are inserted into shuttles, which, in the hands of the skilled Kanchipuram weaver, fly back and forth to weave the weft yarns of the sari. Finally the cascade of feeder yarns is arranged on the pit loom in preparation for the hand crafting of the Pasinam sari.

The warp yarn is laborious drafted onto the heald of the loom. In Kanchipuram, every yarn finds a use, whether in weaving the kanjivaram sari, or in becoming a part of the process. Once the loom is prepared, the weaving of the Pasinam sari begins.

While the weaver manoeuvres the loom, his wife painstakingly lifts the warp yarns by hand in the adai technique, which results in the exquisite detail and striking relief of the design on the body of the Pasinam sari.

And finally, the sari emerges, its weave imbued with the very soul of craft and beauty.

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