Geography: Chattisgarh Art form and product: Kosa silk fabric and products
Artisans: 200, including sericulture farmers, reelers, warpers, weavers, dyers
Art form and product: Kosa silk fabric and products
Kosala Social and Livelihood Foundation, initiated by Hindalco and supported by Tisser Artisan Trust is a social enterprise that acts as a bridge between the skilled Kosa silk artisans in the Chhattisgarh cluster and the market providing contemporary designs interweaved with tradition. Hindalco Industries Limited is the metals flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group. Guided by its purpose of building a greener, stronger, smarter world, Hindalco provides innovative solutions for a sustainable planet. The purpose of the Kosala project is to promote and expand Kosa silk-related sericulture and weaving activities in the cluster to support and improve the lifestyle of beneficiaries participating in Kosa silk-related industries in some form. This project strives to empower rural craftspeople in Chhatisgarh with sustainable livelihoods, income-generating possibilities, and access to professional support, as seen by its success. The jobs thus created aim to revitalise handmade products inspired by India& rich cultural heritage, with each art group across the country having its own unique offering. Women and art are being promoted with insignificant steps of empowerment and exposure. As part of the project, 200 recipients created works of art using Tussar fabric and products made from Tussar yarn. Currently, three types of silk are produced in Chhattisgarh: ‘Mulberry’, ‘Tussar’,and ‘Eri’ ‘silk’. Tribals are in the historic districts of Baster, Raigarh, Balrampur, Bilaspur, and Surguja practice sericulture. Tussar silkworm rearing is a long-standing tradition in the designated district, particularly in tribal families. The entire family participates in various activities like collecting seed cocoons, preparing to lay, protecting worms, and finally harvesting and sales of cocoons. Moreover, specific weaving clusters in central and north Chhattisgarh (such as Champa and Raigarh) have long been known for Tussar silk manufacturing. They have a large number of reelers, spinners, and weavers. But the revenues from silkworm rearing, reeling, warping and weaving are frequently only used to cover the families; basic consumption needs. This indicates the major challenges faced by them like the migration of handloom workers to another profession, a younger generation being not interested to take handloom as a profession, low productivity, lagging behind technology, low-income generation, inadequate production infrastructure, health problems, competition from organized power loom and mill sector, insufficient marketing infrastructure, lack of initiation in export, and lack of government support. This project is centred on yarn and fabric production operations, and it aims to provide a source of income for the artisans while also commercialising their creations. The functions are centred on manufacturing high-quality yarn. The cocoon produced by rearers will be stored in a cocoon bank, which will supply yarn producers with cocoons throughout the year and be combined with traditional fabric weavers. The end product yarn and fabrics are sold in the market through various marketplaces under this project. Thorough market research was done to ensure the manufacturing of commercial products, thus creating a brand value for Kosala as well as restoring the traditional heritage. This is fully integrated back-to-back to support the crafts persons.
A sustained revival of Tussar handlooms linked with commercialization is thus pivotal in the community development of these weavers.