Handloom textiles are the true definition of wearable art that reflect the social histories of their places of origin. Ikat is one of the most intricate and elaborate methods of hand weaving involving first resist dying and then weaving of loose threads post the dyeing.
Tussar silk sarees of Gopalpur village in Jajpur district are world famous due to the specialised weaving techniques adopted by the traditional weavers who have learnt this craft from their ancestors and are practising it for generations. In 2009, Gopalpur tussar also received a geographical indication (GI) tag from the Indian government making it extra special. This tag is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
They have been rearing silkworms or moths on Asan and Arjun trees spread over an area of 260 hectares at the centre. Farmers harvest around three lakh cocoons within three months from the centre and supply to silk weavers in Jajpur, Cuttack, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Dhenkanal and other districts of the state. A cocoon costs three rupees. A silk weaver needs 3,000 cocoons to weave a silk saree.
Tussar silk has a rich coarse texture. It is very comfortable to wear even in summer as it’s more porous and breathable in nature. It’s very light and stiff in structure. Tussar silk sarees are made from silk that is produced from silk worms that breed on wild forest trees, not mulberry trees. They are very delicate and have a natural dull gold sheen to them.
The TUSAAR Silk is called KOSA in Sanskrit and WILD SILK in common. These are not only used for handloom clothes rather were also used in various handicrafts as a base material. These desirable silks are found in countries like Japan, China, Sri Lanka and India. India is the 2nd largest and exclusive producer of TUSAAR. In India Tussar is exclusively produced by the Tribal. The tribal community of Gopalpur produces the finest of the Tussar. These silk being extremely peerless holds a GI tag since 2009.
The stains of the artists are precisely seen from the intricate and polished work.There are struggles behind the polishing has started long back in the 90’s.The weavers were weaving cotton since 1972 but a cyclone arrived and turned their fate to destruction. The ruined homes and raw materials have taken their hope to a dark room of depression. When everything was at the lowest and cotton became expensive. Tussar were made at low cost and of superior quality when private entrepreneurs intervened the business. Overcoming these struggles this stands out to be the largest and leading clusters in India.The more female assistance here has dedicated more strength to the groups. This has also made them independent and empowered. The financial assistance and reverence are too little for the hours of rhythmic hours of diligence. The Geographical Indication falls short for the craftsman’s and their families to get their basic needs. Measures to provide a better level of wage is essential to preserve this artistry.