The raw materials required for making Kota Doria sarees include warping paste, silk yarn and cotton yarn. Onion and water are the constituents of the warping paste, which is unique to the Kota region. Silk yarn and fine count cotton yarn are used for weaving the fabric. These are obtained from Surat, Gujarat, in the form of hanks. The yarn needs to be prepared before the weaving process begins. The most important tools that are put to use are the reeds that are specially made in Varanasi, for weaving the threads.
Weaving a Kota Doria fabric on handloom
The initial step in the creation of this fabric is pirn winding. Here, the yarn from hanks is converted into spools for weft insertion. This process is also carried out for zari or silk thread. The next stage involves the peg warping of the yarns on the wooden pegs, also referred to as pinjras. Dyeing is the next phase. Direct dyes are primarily used, owing to the comfort of use and high retention capabilities.
L: Weaving of a Kota Doria fabric in progress
R: A section of a finished Doria fabric
Sizing follows, in order to impart strength and glaze to the yarns. This makes the process of weaving much easier and maintains a certain degree of stiffness necessary for the interlacement. This too, is done using onion juice or rice paste, called mandi.
Leheriya pattern on a Doria saree
The preparation of loom comprises both drafting and denting. Drafting is the process of passing the warp yarn through the heddle to make the required design. Denting involves the manual filling of the reed, a technique that the artisans learn with patience. Attachments of dobby and jacquard are also made on the looms in order to create borders of varying intricacies.
A gota patti finished neckline
The final weaving of the Kota Doria fabric is done on simple pit looms that can be easily procured by the villagers. The throw shuttle method is still used, putting a high degree control in the hands of the artisans to achieve the required khat pattern.
A finished Kota Doria garment
Images: Tapolestore, Swadesh Unnatiskills, Gaatha, Coloflt