‘Woven treasures’ at the Rex

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“Woven Treasures” is an exhibition of hand woven sarees on display at the Rex Hotel this weekend.


Kushma Ram, a NSW fabric designer who spends a lot of time in different weaving regions of India, will be exhibiting sarees that capture the weaving traditions of the various weaving communities of India. She has been working with weavers and embroiderers in different regions of India designing sarees and re-creating the traditional ones using centuries-old handloom traditions and techniques.

Some of Ram’s sarees have won national and state handloom awards in India.

A good hand woven saree, she says, can some times take up to two years to craft. Weavers painstakingly work through the warp and the weft yarns re-creating heritage masterpieces only from memory.

This exhibition will include sarees that have been handcrafted with real zari (gold plated pure silver thread) on muslin (malmal), once the exclusive preserve of royalty. The malmal warp worked with the zari weft, coupled with the rare ‘rangkat’ technique of weaving make it a complex, yet delicate saree which is an heirloom.

Banarasi silk
Banarasi silk

This Kay Collections exhibition presents a variety of weaving patterns on silks and cottons that reflect the rich cultures and traditions of weaving communities. For example, the priceless jamdani sarees from the Bengal region have been described as ‘woven air’ because of the lightness of the finest cotton yarns, while baluchari sarees portray great romances in history or significant events reflected in the epics such as the “Ramayan”.

The ikat and bomkai sarees from Orissa depict designs drawn from plants and animals from the surroundings of the weavers and the madhubani hand-painted sarees from the Madhubani district of Bihar reflect stories of changing seasons and celebrations of life.

The exhibition is billed as an event for the whole family, an opportunity to learn about the different weaving techniques of weavers from Banaras, Gujarat, Bengal and Tamil Nadu among others.

“Woven Treasures”, Rex Hotel, 150 Northbourne Avenue Braddon, April 10 – 12, 10.00am – 7.00pm. Free entry, some sarees for sale.

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Helen Musa
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