Naga women present weaving skill & toil

ales woven at Day 2 of 4th International Loinloom Festival

Akangchila Longchar
Diezephe | December 7  

In 20 minutes, Rukuvolu had woven 183 lines on her loom. At another corner, Nuzatalu warped 227 rounds around four uneven bamboo sticks in 10 minutes. The women weavers emerged winners in the weaving and warping competition respectively at the 4th International Loinloom Festival underway at Diezephe village from December 6-8.  

The competition brought to fore the skill these indigenous women weavers have honed over generations, just as imagined by the Exotic Echo Society that organized the Festival.  

Weaver’s Tales

On December 7, the Weaver’s Place at Diezephe Handicraft Village was filled with cheer, giggle and chatter. The women gathered shared stories of struggles, pride, skill, and the history of their heritage.  

Weavers at The International Loin Loom Festival attested that the presence of Exotic Echo has been a boon. Used to making traditional orders on small scale, or some exclusive orders, they shared that it made little difference to their income. But after training and exposure, they now make bags, bed spreads, cushion covers and several contemporary products under the Exotic Echo banner.  

“When people say they don’t have time to learn weaving because they go to school or have busy jobs- We would also like to point out that every weaver present in this festival do household work, go to the fields and look after our children. Even with all this we travel for hours on the bus or walk just to come to Diezephe handicraft Village to pick up our orders, supplies and payments,” narrated a weaver of how they have made this endeavor possible.  

For every Naga women, weaving is a very important tradition passed down from generations. But times have changed. As one of the weavers echoes her sentiment, “Weaving is looked down as an activity that only the illiterate, unemployed or villagers resort to. Women, every Naga woman, irrespective of tribe, should honor and respect weaving and continue to take this tradition forward because this is a time honored tradition presented to every Naga woman through their grandmothers and mothers.”  

Keeping Hearths and Hearts Warm- A male perspective One of the few Naga men present at the festival, Ivantu Kath, S.D.O at R&B Department, was keenly observing the Loinloom Festival. He acknowledged that it has been successful in presenting an effective and meaningful representation of the Naga way of life- “not only through our textiles and weaving styles but the reality of how Naga women toil every day.”  

“There are many Naga men out there who don’t realize or understand the hard labour of our Naga women. If we don’t respect ourselves, who will? These women have managed to keep the hearths of every family and hearts warm through their weaving,” he said.  

He also stated that since ancient civilization, Nagas are the engineers and designers of our own products. But in today’s modern times, we are neglecting ourselves.  

The world is ready for your products

“It may feel that the global market is really far away from here but trust me the world is changing and people are very interested to wear the clothes, buy the products, and feel the connection to people like you,” shared Kathy Marshall, Founder and General Manager of Sabahar in Ethiopia.  

“People around the world want real things - authenticity, passion, and heritage is what they want to buy. The world is ready for your products,” she said while sharing remarks with Naga weavers.  

Susanna, a ‘slow designer’ from Spain, stated, “We live in a world where money is more important than humankind and the planet. I work in the fashion industry which is the second most polluting industry after fuel. What I do is slow fashion; I work only with natural materials based on principles and ethics. That’s why it is impressive to see your work which keeps the world rooted to reality.”  

Prita Sen from New Delhi who had visited the first edition of the Loinloom Festival in 2014 said she was floored by what she saw in Nagaland. She shared, “I could not believe that somebody who was cooking, looking after children, tending a vegetable patch, feeding pigs- all at the same time- could suddenly sit down and create something so beautiful! Let’s celebrate together and take weaving higher and not let it die.”  

Foreign delegates from Ethiopia, Canada, Spain, France, Australia, as well as from Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and New Delhi participating in the Loinloom Festival presented a workshop on the theme ‘Mantra of Success.’ The evening saw performances by the Tetse-o Sisters and Tattva band.