Weaving and embroidering pashmina perfection
Mysterious and evocative are words that come to mind when studying the phenomenal textiles of Indian artisan Bashir Ahmad Jan, a Shlip Guru (living legend). Jan’s creative eye has helped him develop a busy workshop of over 50 highly skilled artisans, who each play an integral role in producing delicately textured and colored textiles for personal adornment and for the home.
Jan is an expert in the technique of pashmina weaving. A large part of the value of his weaving is comes from an integrity that’s earnest and long-standing for Jan. “Our folk art is made from beginning to end by hand-process,” he explained “without even the touch of a machine at any stage.” Indeed, this labor-intensive artform often entails many days of work, with an artist wholly focused upon his needle and thread—when embroidering or finishing a piece, for example, often for many hours at a time.
To complete a single shawl, Jan must go through almost 36 unique stages. The journey starts with obtaining raw pashmina from a special type of goat indigenous to this part of India. This material is then cleaned and dyed, and loomed into shawls. After the weaving is complete, embroidery is applied. From start to finish, Jan and his dedicated team of artists produce items which garner respect and conjure curiosity within all who see them.
This story first appeared in in IFAM Stories, to view please visit: http://ifamstories.org/artists/bashir-ahmad-jan