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Artisan Stories:


Challa Gangaiah Seen here is Gangaiah garu meticulously weaving a gold zari micro check patterned fabric inspired by the Venkatagiri sarees of the past over 100s count cotton. This design was once common across the traditional Venkatagiri saree, woven in real gold zari. Over time, lack of skill and inflation in gold zari put this pattern out of production. We at Antaran believe by efficient product diversification, handloom can be for everyone, what was once a saree can now be a fabric. Gangaiah is a Jamdani and ani butta weaver who has an expertise of over 40 years on the loom. Born with a hearing impairment, weaving has been his only means of an earning all these years and he hope one day, soon enough, he will get to make sarees like the ones he used to make in his youth. He now works with our AE Patnam Subramanyam on his mission to revive the Venkatagiri Saree







Boga Radhakrishna Radhakrishna garu is a 49 year old weaver who has been weav ing the spade jamdani saree, one of the first revival pieces initiated by Antaran for over a year.? He is easily the most enthusiastic weaver always ready to experiment and is often the first to trout a new design, later passing his knowledge to other weavers. But he wasn’t always in this profession. As a young boy, he picked up weaving from his father and other fellow weavers, but in his youth pursued other professions. In 2020, he was running a jewellery business when covid hit, bringing his business to a standstill, forcing the shop to close down. It was at this time, he got connected to Patnam Subramanyam

who was on the lookout for weavers to work with. With Subramanyam, Radhakrishna garu refreshed his previous knowledge, honing his skills in jala amd jamdani weaving. Now, he has been weaving exquisite pieces for over 2 years. When asked how does your day look like he replies with a shy smile, “ Morning I have idly and then I weave, that’s all “. In Venkatagiri, people say that Radhakrishna Garu has golden hands, be it in weaving or business. Interestingly enough, he recently wove a Jamdani saree in real gold Zari, a feat done after 22 years in Venkatagiri. Golden Hands indeed




39Polluvoina Chenchamma Chenchamma akka’s journey embodies the resilience and spirit of the weavers of Venkatagiri. Hailing from Ammapaleyam, a village nestled on the outskirts of Venkatagiri, Lakshmi akka’s story is one of rediscovery and passion reignited. Born into a weaving family, Lakshmi akka and her husband had temporarily abandoned the loom to pursue other means of livelihood. Moving to the village, they ventured into cattle farming while her husband found employment as a conductor on a local bus. The loom in their house lay dormant for over four years, a silent witness to the passage of time and the fading echoes of tradition. However, fate had other plans for Lakshmi akka. In a serendipitous encounter with AE Patnam Sekhar, the dormant embers of her weaving heritage were reignited. Recounting her days spent weaving fine cottons and intricate jala butta designs alongside her father as a young girl, Lakshmi akka’s passion was palpable. Encouraged by Sekhar, she embarked on a journey to revive the Neemli (peacock) design, a timeless emblem of Venkatagiri’s rich weaving legacy. Despite initial setbacks and the inevitable trial and error, Lakshmi akka persevered. The first warp of five sarees may have ended in disappointment, but her determination remained unshaken. With unwavering resolve, Lakshmi akka mastered the intricacies of the Neemli design, breathing new life into the age-old craft. From the ashes of frustration emerged a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues and intricate patterns, as she meticulously wove the Neemli design in multiple colors, each thread a testament to her skill and dedication.



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