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Kalakshetra - Weaving Centre
from the book "Homage to Rukmini Devi"

To the centre of the arts & learning, Smt. Rukmini Devi added craft education. The idea of craft preservation and revival further complemented the philosophy of Kalakshetra, dedicated to inculcating an overall aesthetic value & perpetuating India's heritage.

The weaving Centre was inaugurated in 1937, & the weavers were brought from Kanchipuram, the yarn from Bangalore which was twisted to the three-ply murukku pattu.

At Kalakshetra the skill was harnessed to the recovery of forgotten traditional motifs along with some experimentation in keeping with the norms of tradition. The broad borders returned, memories were tapped for old designs, old available material was collected, and a record book maintained.

Soon a special kind of hand-woven saree, both cotton & silk, came to be called " Kalakshetra Sari" - its distictive feature being deep colours, broad border with traditional design. Its quality, durability & beauty made the sari a cherished & coveted possession. Though the centre in its heyday wove dhotis, handkerchiefs, shawls & a few book covers, the sari remained its chief & highly acclaimed product.

Some of the designs revived by Kalakshetra are the "mubbhagam" in which the sari is divided into three equal parts, the upper & the lower parts forming the borders. The tazambu design, puliankottai, redraksham, vazhaippu, malli mokku, aatumuzhi, panneershombu & nelivanki were among revived embellishments.

Another area of pioneering work was experimentation with "ahimsa" silk (woven with the broken threads in the cocoon after the flight of the silk moth.)