Our partner in Kerala is Genesh. He makes around half of our fabrics. They are made in small batches of 100 to 300 metres. The process is very artisan. Very hands on, the yarns are dyed by hand, the weaving is done by hand on small powerlooms or handlooms. The printing is done by hand.
This is Mr and Mrs Manu, they mostly weave our denim. We were able to help Mrs Manu after an illness in 2014 . Here Genesh's children watch TV , the yarn drying is for our red denim
Here Genesh describes making our high twist fabric.
For high twist fabric we spent some hours for drying it on sunlight. The crinkle charecteristics of the HT fabrics unveil when it put in the water. In my teen ages there were thousands and thousands of meters we produced for exporters purely in hand loom. when I was a college student I weave the fabrics on holidays and earn pocket monies. The wet high twist fabric we took in a van and went to big empty grouds with medows and dried it in sunlight. It was recalling the memories of twentyfive years after with our high twist fabrics.
We put the fabrics in the bath tub at dye house and dried it in sunlight opposit ground of our home. But the fabric did not get curled and I found it is difficult to go again and picking the wet fabric to home again. So we made a temporary water tank with red stones ( which are using to build walls) and a Tarpolin sheet and filled 3000 ltrs water fetch from out side and put these fabrics in to it for an overnight and day.
Recalling memories and experience before decades, Gokul and Ashin (Genesh's young sons) helped me to pull ot the fabrics from the tank, ( three of us not needed bath again).
Next day Anitha (Genesh's wife)and me put in the ground the fabric get its natural charecter!
Some photos of this story attached
Fabric is dried in the fields.
This field is soon to become the site of a new building so that Genesh doesnt have to cope with all the processing of fabric in his home.
Genesh rolls the fabric by hand into 25 metre rolls.
The selvedge is printed 'organic cotton'
Here Genesh writes about the wages and process of making the fabric.
It is doing after boiling the yarn. For boiling soda Ash, silicate are using. Silicate cleared the stains from the raw yarn. After boiling around 8 hours, the yarn stays in boiled water more than 12 hours. Then it is washed with plain water and enter on to the Bamboo Sticks. This yarns hanged on bamboo sticks are put in the bath tank used in Hydrogen Peroxide. After Bleaching yarns are washing to washout its foam etc. For piece dyeing the fabrics are washed after bleaching to get maximum performance of color dyes.
Yes it is true the living and earning circumstances are entirely different in India. As per our labor earnings, They are getting in between INR 400/- to 500/- daily as wages. In addition For Onam up to 16% of their annual wage level is distributing as Bonus + In the Time of Vishu Cash Leave allowances and leave wages are distributing. In another side, Three of our weavers control 2 looms hence they are getting more income, as they have more productivity than others and is getting INr1000-1500 per day according to the quality. These people are like tiny entrepreneurs with Two looms at their home premises. So normally their working system is not affected with sanitation etc. Most of our weaving section is working like a free institution with one or two looms which is running and controlled by the whole family members. Husband weave, wife wind the pirns, elder parents wind bobbins etc. Wife and Husband inspect the fabric before I am taking from them to take notice how their weave looks like. Another side we protect some old women who wind the bobbins. One of the lady's photo I was sending before. They earn 200-300 Rs daily sitting in the portico of the home hearing radio/ TV programs. They are very good people with plenty of experience with yarns. Finer to thicker yarns, Jute and Linens, Curling High twist, viscose etc.. etc Most of the people get a pension from the Govt of INr1000.00(Thousand Rupees). They are very Lovely people who express their good Looking attitude with a smile and Love. I have decided to give a few amount to Mrs.Devaki, the old woman who pose for our photo, and was very happy to ready to take photos. She posed with her grand children that time, and I have taken the two print outs to give them.
Regarding dyes. I have asked Genesh which types of dye he uses. The dyes are Huntsman Novacon EC , there is lots of info about the dyes on Huntsmans website. It is beyond my comprehension. This is what Genesh says about the dyeing process he uses.
For The Dyes, Huntsman is good as noticed.
For the Vat dyeing schedule, The Caustic Soda, and Hydros are used as a mordent which helps the cellulose to absorb the color. And these components are not absorbed by the yarn. IT IS EASILY GO OUT WHILE WASHING IN PLAIN WATER
After dye Bath the yarns are washing in two different steps to washout these chemical ingredients. And the yarns are safe for OUR DYE House people and customers.
Also These are the world wide accepted standardized process for safe usage of customers.
While I get in the Dyeing section 20 years Back, the dyeing materials were different and had a small changes in applying the dyes.
When the process is focused in Customer policy many colors were with drawn from market ( it was Years before) as the steps accepted Govt: Agencies.
World wide several brands are supporting this Method of Dyeing Since last many years, and is continuing to all markets..
We are in daily contact with Genesh and we visited his family and toured the weaving facilities, dyers, schools, and area in 2011. The water was warm, the food was hot and the children were charming.
The Womens co operative in Kerala called Gramodia sew up our squares, scarves, cushions, aprons etc... This is what Genesh wrote about the Co operative
Hello, Thanks for asking details. Gramodaya, the ladies collective is self working / administered group for sewing. We gave the fabrics and Gramoday sew the made-ups. Gramodaya is a group of women who were scattered to different private sewing concerns and getting very low earnings. As a remote and economically backward village our native people were struggling to sustain. I have been thinking to unite some of the talented women other than forming a private institution and I give a suggestion in front of the Local Self Govt: Body and in 2009 a group of 12 ladies were formed and named the institution "Gramodaya". The objective of the formation of this group is to bring the ladies to the main stream of the society by the guide line of the Govt: project named "kudumbasree" which means "family prosperity" 10 numbers of Juki sewing machines were bought in 2010 and in 2012 January one more machine along with a button whole and button stitching machine were allotted them freely by the disctrict local self Govt: An additional funding from Govt has alloted to the group and the District level Local govt: sanctioned a new own building to this group which was completed by March 2013. And 2016 is another special year with a mile stone by obtaining 10 sewing machine by the world famous construction company L&T, who were in the process of build KANNUR INTERNATIONAL AIR PORT. As per our request to the Dt.administraion, it was forwarded to L&T and make using their CSR ( corporate social responsibility) fund, 10 sewing machines, and an ironing machine were arranged. Now 18 women are working. And happy to describe that last 4 months 90% working days they have been sewing the cloths, Aprons, cushions, bags for " Organic Textile Company" and its a mile stone to us also. Myself has some duties when they run out of sewing, its my responsibilities to collect sewing work for them from other concerns. Among them last year by three months Gramodaya did 7000 sets of school uniforms, which gave a big opportunity to the people with a breakthrough self -confidence. From its energy They made in house furnishing worthy to be high class production centre. We, by supporting the Gramodaya, a new story was written in patronizing a venture to attain their goals to live a better way. Some Photos will be sending later today. If any more questions please let me know, I am happy to write regarding, as the concept input was from myself, during 2009, and now we are @ 10th years co-operative working with an bonded togetherness Regards Genesh