If you go to the Punjab region in India today and ask how to weave a dhurrie you will only find women in their fifties or sixties and above who know how to make them. Most of them are still based in villages of Punjab.
Not so long ago, most women did not complete school. Traditionally, a woman’s value was in her spinning and weaving skills. Other women who were formally educated and who worked, kept weaving during their summer holidays, enjoying the togetherness with kin. Today, almost none of these women weave as times have changed and everyone wants things that are new and “easy”.
Dhurries were traditionally used as the first layer of bedding in place of a mattress and on a bed base which was also woven. Dhurries were usually woven in different colours and often the designs were geometrical and repetitive, though skilled weavers could replicate any image they fancied.
Most women learnt to weave by looking at others, usually their Grandma and Aunties. First, they collected the cotton from the fields, carrying it on their heads in 15 – 20 kg bundles. They then separated the cotton from the seeds before the cotton was sited and fluffed up. It was then made into noodle-like strips. Finally, they would use the spinning wheel, usually spinning three to four yarns in an hour. The yarn was then dyed, usually with vegetable dyes.
The wooden loom was the size of a single bed but lower, so you had to sit on a low seat and weave. Most dhurries would take 15 – 20 days to make.
Married women often received dhurries as part of their dowry, most of these are now sitting in trunks, not getting used.
We at Bonpinda wanted to showcase the detailed work and wonderful, but sadly dying craft of these women and believe the dhurries we are selling can be reused for various purposes both indoors and outdoors.
We have ethically sourced the dhurries from villages in Punjab and through their purchase have helped women contribute to their household expenses and family income.
Because each dhurrie is handmade they are not perfect, but we feel that is the true beauty in them!