ERI SILK (north east india)

Date: 07.09.2010

I had been reading and hearing the same things from everyone about this silk called “Eri”

“who is she?”, I wondered.

According to Wikipedia and other sources, The name Eri is derived from the Assamese word ‘era’, which means castor as the silkworm feeds on castor plants. Eri silk is also known as endi or errandi in India. Eri is known as the most eco-friendly amongst silk.

“where does she come from?”

The wooly white silk is often referred to as the Ahimsa silk or the fabric of peace as the process does not involve the killing of the silk worm. Moths leave the cocoon as soon as it is ready to be spun. The heavy rainfall and humid atmosphere of the region suits the Eri culture. It is grown primarily in Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and also in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and some small villages in India

“how does she look?”

it could be white, creamy white or reddish. It can be spun evenly or unevenly in coarse or very fine counts which amplifies the elegance of silk, comfort of cotton and warmth of wool. Fineness, density, strength, cross-sectional shape and surface properties are unique to Eri.

whew… all of this made sense theoretically… just theoretically… how were we going to gel… I had no idea!!!

days passed before…

my naga friends Kilang and Archi suggested we go to Imui village, nagaland because a certain old lady there makes some Eri shawls…

how is she going to be? when I say “she”.. its her…the Eri… somehow she’s playing with my mind… ummmph!

the lady said she has a few left from her recent trip to guwahati.

I said bring it on… I was nervous!!

my first meeting with Eri and it was love at first sight! I froze… I was in love with HER… right there! numb… speechless… I wanted to touch her… feel her… smell her… I was hopeless at my first impression and she was gorgeous… perfect in her imperfection… just the way I like it! I was intimidated… she could read my mind and was giggling behind that half-open, half closed bag…

I had gone with a certain image of her in my mind.. all of that was NOTHING… here I was shaking nervously not being able to contain myself…

And suddenly, just like that… I saw her, touched her, smelt her… there was an instant connect… this was just what I was looking for al these years…

she has that ability to transform into so many colours so easily, almost chameleon like… she  takes to those natural dyes like no one else… oh and then her extremely flexible and delicate nature lends to her a body and texture that is almost unseen or unimaginable with any other… she could be coarse or soft depending on how you want her to be…

there’s a certain playfulness in her character… it’s as if she’s looking at you with those big bright eyes and asking you to take up the challenge… “lets see what you have to show me now” “what else are you going to try on me” “what colour am I today” “how do you want me to be… gentle or hard”…

a sudden impulse told me… this is it! make or break! lets see what I can do with you, you Eri!

  • Khasi natural dyed checks on Eri teamed up with muga geecha weave on Eri bodo aronai (stole).. Kokrajhar of assam merges with khasi hills of meghalaya.. Where else do you see this combination!
  • what next… fiery red natural dyed Eri combines with kalamkari of andhra pradesh.. haan… like it!
  • well… how about those bright konyak naga weaves on a dull olive natural dyed (with tea) Eri… niiice… elegant!

haan? haan?

well this is what I can do with you… are you ready to come along?

what she said is carefully wrapped up and being sent all the way from punjab (our workshop) to Mumbai…
can’t wait to share it with you…

meanwhile…

sharing some photos of my love affair with Eri…

Date: 13.03.2011

its time i do a follow up on this blog that i wrote months back… last few months have been quite crazy… with the second trip to the north east and meeting some of the most fabulous weavers in arunachal pradesh and of course meeting all my newly formed seem-like-forever friends in the north east.

those carefully wrapped parcels reached bombay and were received with much enthusiasm at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival…

you wanna see how they look like…

Khasi natural dyed checks on Eri teamed up with muga geecha weave on Eri bodo aronai (stole).. Kokrajhar of assam merges with khasi hills of meghalaya.. Where else do you see this combination!

what next… fiery red natural dyed Eri combines with kalamkari of andhra pradesh.. haan… like it!


well… how about those bright konyak naga weaves on a dull olive natural dyed (with tea) Eri… niiice… elegant!


i took up the challenge… and eri, you humbled me… you are much more beautiful and crafty… i underestimated…

what would i do working on you…

you worked your magic on me…

and look at what you created!

continue to charm me the same… you… you eri! 🙂

more in eri silk…

natural dyed eri silk with raw silk borders

Natural dyed eri silk with maharashtran khand and Naga weaves

eri silk fibre woven into a shawl with raw silk borders

eri silk shawl with woven floral motif

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40 Responses to ERI SILK (north east india)

  1. Aditi says:

    She is completely captivating, R. Your excitement is infectious! Like the first MASSIVE crush we all had as little butterflies ourselves! And the weaves…hot damn they’re GORGEOUS!

  2. wait till you see these three.. i talked about… i sooooo wish u can feel them in person… like touch it… smell it… think will keep them safe til you come.. na?

  3. Reita says:

    This is what I call baap of description..love this RM…
    Great job / great work…WOW

    • Lata Chander says:

      Hi Ritika
      Lovely sarees . I did try your website for more details but I think your website is not functioning. How do I see and buy your sarees ? Are they on store or only online and how does one order?

      Thanks
      Lata

  4. SS says:

    Hi: just heard about your blog. Your writing and pictures are great! I hope you succeed in reviving traditional cotton and weaves.
    Have you read the (late) French Anthropologist Chantal Boulanger’s amazingly great book documenting all the literally dozens of different styles of saree tying in India? There is another woman who writes a blog called sarisafari.com (I have no connection with her) but she is also interested in traditional Indian weaves. Maybe you could join forces.
    Wish you all the best.

  5. vidu says:

    excellent shots!!

  6. rakhi says:

    hi,i have seen your website and loved your collection..how can i order
    pls suggest

      • Wahid Saleh says:

        My name is Wahid Saleh. I am from Jorhat. I left India in 1963. I am a retired person. I maintain a website. The URL is http://www.indiawijzer.nl. The link “About Wahid” will give you some background information about me.

        Congratulations! Your blog is just great. The writing specially the images you are using are very beautiful. Keep it up.

        Mr. Murthy of Hyderabad is preparing a proposal to include Majuli in the list of World Heritage Site. Where possible I am helping him and bringing him in contact with specialists with knowledge of the Heritage of majuli. I am forwarding your blogadress to him. It might be of interest for his proposal.

        By the way where are you based?
        Greetings and best wishes,

        Wahid Saleh
        The Netherlands.

      • thanks a lot mr. wahed. i live in bombay… it will be great if we can all get introduced on e mail… my e mail is mittal.ritika@gmail.com.

        looking forward to hera from you.

        regards…
        ritika

      • garima says:

        Hi Ritika, where did you take these photos from? I am interested in sourcing these shawls.
        Love
        Garima

      • these shawls are not sourced garima, each one is designed by me. i make one of a kind designs under my brand called, mora. you can find mora by ritika on facebook, thats my page there! 🙂

  7. deepika says:

    sometimes i wonder….are you a better designer or a better writer…loved it

  8. honey says:

    hey, i’d just like to bring to ur notice someone working along ur lines of creativity. pls check this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nivyababu/

    in my humble opinion, u are a pioneer of sorts.

  9. rohit s maheshwari says:

    hi ,you are doing great job (karma) because you do for society & your collection is very good ,goodluck

  10. youngja Kim says:

    Namaskar
    I’m from Korea. I live in Seoul KOREA.
    love HINDUSTAN too much. i visited whole India, 7 times.

    About my firm book, ASSAM’s Tea storytelling. i stayed in Tea garden with Tea women for 3 month(each), 2 times of the number. the book(아쌈 차차차= Assam chachacha(teateatea)) is a touching story about sorrow & joy life.

    my second book will come out whole book store & on – line book store, soon. i’ v written a book about Majuli island(in Satra, in tribes, culture, Apong=Assam wine).
    that is soon to be published. vibrate with joy more everyday.
    i’m waiting release date for my second book(Majuli story) more and everyday.
    AND~ silchar, guwahati, tezpur, jorhat, majuli island, sivasagar, dibrugarh, tinsukia,,,, in Assam. my friend, Anjali(assamese) live in sivasagar now.

    • its absolutely wonderful to connect with you!! from korea to majuli would have been a long journey… but sooo beautiful 🙂 and absolutely worth it… 🙂

  11. Wecheteu says:

    Love your blog and photos. I came across your blog while doing some research on ERI silk. I’m also impressed at your knowledge of AO and Nagamese. Keep working on it.

  12. sanghamitra says:

    hey lady! love you for bringing the hidden treasures of my land to mainland india! thanks! keep up the good work!

  13. Poonam says:

    I agree with Deepika… it is hard to decide which is better .. ur writing or ur work … loved both. Came here via Shopo…and i am glad i did… the post about ur Oja is the best! Will be mailing u soon.
    Regards Poonam

  14. Sudha says:

    These are beautiful. I plan to visit Mumbai and Dec and would be greatly delighted if I can purchase a Mora that time. Good luck on all your efforts and hard work 🙂

  15. Pingback: NE Indian jute weavers can benefit from powerloom

  16. Deepa Medhi says:

    love your blog…seriously the photographs speaks a lot…love you

  17. Swaram says:

    Read about Ahimsa silk in the Hindu recently. Nice to know more 🙂 Lovely pictures!

  18. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking
    back often!

  19. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on
    blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It’s always exciting to read content from other writers and practice a little something from other sites.

  20. good work ,
    we do hand block printing on various type of silks specially wild silks . i think we can work together . we are jai texart-jaipur .

    hemant

  21. Pingback: NE Indian jute weavers can benefit from powerloom |

    • to whosoever it may concern… Mora as a brand and me as a textile enthusiast, work and support only handloom and that too the most traditional looms used by the various tribal- non tribal groups in the north east. for me power loom replaces people and alters the traditional motifs. the weavers are struggling to keep the identity of their weaves. while i dont wish to step into anyone’s work and thought zone, i would really excuse myself from any participation in a power loom project and especially through the use of any of my work (photograph etc). regards, Ritika

    • Powerloom is not something i promote as an art form or as a medium or source of livelihood for the skilled artisans. It has replaced many hands to switches and has made skill cheap in the market spaces. While i dont wish to interfere in other sensibilities, i strongly say that i am a promoter of ONLY handloom that is actually woven and spun by hand and not e- charkhas and mechanised looms including jacquard.My photo used to promote power loom does not represent in any form my association or encouragement to Powerloom. regards, Ritika

  22. mang says:

    hi,
    accidentally came across the blog. love it.

    l. rympei
    manager Eri Seed Grainage; Nongpoh Meghalaya

  23. Pingback: Eri Silk | Antima Khanna ~A tale of Handicrafts

  24. we are looking for eri silk saree please share your contact details with us our email id is teamnitya.mani@gmail.com

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