November 2, 2014
It was Lisa’s fifth time to her beloved India this past October but inspiration was no less evident than the first time. Whether it may be the vibrant colors or the jasmine scented air, the country is rich with culture and those who experience it are indefinitely tempted to return.
The trip began in Hyderabad where we met with an innovation lab and traveled to the nearby Pochampally village to meet with artisan weavers and their families. Pochampally is a double ikat style of silk weaving originated from this village. The bright colors and light, strong silk can be referred to as the “cotton” of silk. The first step to silk weaving is boiling the silkworms, drying them off, creating thread and spinning it onto a spool. Next is a the very tedious and cumbersome hand winding process of yarn. Traditional process involves to and fro moving of the hand thousands of time in a span of four-five hours and is usually done by women. The fabric is hand dipped in dye and allowed to dry before being woven on a large loom.
The women’s job of hand winding the yarn is a straining process on their bodies, leaving them little time and health to care for their families and tend to the numerous other jobs they need to accomplish in one day. A little boy in the village of Pochampally saw his mother’s deteriorating health and decided to do something about it. He spent years developing a mechanical innovation called the Laxmi ASU machine and now the no-longer-little man is a community hero.