Project LooM
Chanderi People

Dance of the LooM: portrait of a female weaver

Her name is Kisbar Jahan, her age, 32.  She is better known as master weaver, Abdul Mubeen’s wife.  She has a daughter and a son. She is both confident and vulnerable, faking it for the camera when she needs to, or in her case, for the first time in her life.

I met her at her home.  She took me up to her terrace to pick fresh guavas from a tree.  She gave me wonderful peppermint tea, spiked with tulsi, ginger, cardamom, cloves and jaggery.  She had an unstudied, guileless honesty.

“Why would I weave what I like? I weave what I think the customers would like,” she said, when we asked about her favourite designs, colours and motifs.  She had none.  Weaving for her was empathy, figuring out what her customers would like, buy and wear.

Kisbar was tense because we insisted that she had to get in front of a camera and give an interview.  Which she did.  In her own way.

As an afterthought almost, we told her to get behind a loom.  It was the best thing that we did.  As she sat in her rightful place: behind a loom, foot pushing pedals, she became a different person.  She came to her own.  She rocked back and forth comforting herself and us.  Indeed, she danced.

“I spent all night weaving a poem for you to wear. You look so beautiful when you wear my light.” 
― Kamand Kojouri

The threads looked like lightning as she moved from left to right.  Completely at ease.  Completely at home.  Dancing with the LooM.

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