Orissa, also known as Odisha, is one of India’s most picturesque states. It is also better known as a holiday destination because of its exciting and vibrant traditional arts and crafts. These traditional techniques have been passed down through the same families for generations, often for hundreds or even thousands of years. The result is not just art, but a cultural legacy that partakes as much of philosophy and spirituality as it does from simple crafting techniques.
Weaving and Embroidery workshops
Kantha embroidery is an important aspect of both crafting traditions and everyday life throughout Eastern India. Orissa is justifiably seen as one of the nation’s most important Kantha production centres.
As sarees, dhotis and even bedding become torn or too worn to use, they are layered together. Yarn or cordage are threaded between the layers, binding them together in a unique ‘crinkly’ manner. Kantha stitching is used to decorate the new textile pieces with large, repeating motifs of various kinds. This is a fantastic way to recycle old fabrics. These items see a great deal of everyday use, but the very special textile peices are traditionally set aside as part of a young woman’s dowry.
The traditional embroidery workshop featured on this Colouricious Holiday is an opportunity to learn the traditional kantha techniques which informed the more modern, mass-produced West Bengali kantha techniques that have recently become popular worldwide. The opportunity to learn this ancient textile art from practitioners who have learned it from their mothers, grandmothers and a line of women going back into antiquity is not to be missed!
Visiting Orissa’s tribes
The Orissa region is famous for its tribes who have chosen to live as their ancestors have lived for generations. They engage in traditional arts contributing greatly to the crafts industry using this as a heartfelt expression of their spirituality and their understanding of their place in the world.
Some of the tribes you will be able to meet on this Colouricious Holiday include:
Desia Gondh tribe
The women of the Desia Gond (sometimes spelled Desia Kondh) tribe are famous for their striking facial tattooing tradition. Though the practice is no longer universally observed, many of the younger women and most of the older generation boast bold geometric tattoos, each unique but also incorporating traditional designs that are said to help the bearers find and identify family members in the afterlife.
The several peoples identifying as Bonda tribes adopt one of the most ‘primitive’ lifestyles in Modern India, but also boast some of the richest cultural and folklore traditions on the planet today. Bonda women are known for their shaven heads and silver neck rings, and the men for their martial tradition and skill with the bow and arrow.
The Parajas are one of Eastern Inda’s most famous tribal peoples. They have called parts of Orissa home since at least the 2nd century CE, and are considered very unlike the more ancient peoples of the region. You know an area has deep history when 2000 years of occupation still makes a people ‘newcomers’.
Join us on a Colouricious Holiday
Colouricious Holidays have been hosting creative tours for the past 5 years in the hopes of finding hidden textile treasures around the globe and keeping ancients crafts alive in the modern world today. Its also a great way to be inspired for your own craft projects as well as meeting like minded people and possibly friends for life! Need to know more? Visit Colouriciousholidays.com to find the right creative holiday and destination for you.
Learn, create, be happy!