Why what most of what we call handmade in India is semi-industrial and why the powerloom industry needs equal support
One of India’s best-known design practitioners and historians of textile arts, Rahul Jain believes there is an enormous overlap between the artisanal and the industrial. Jain, who has run a workshop of traditional drawlooms in Varanasi for 20 years, is an advisor to numerous museums and crafts archives. He argues that authentic artisanship only exists now in minuscule ways and it may be prudent to nurture that while supporting the powerloom industry, which shares processes with the handmade. A 2015 Padma Shri awardee, Jain explains in this interview why the ongoing war cry about saving handlooms translates into misplaced rhetoric. Edited excerpts:
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