artisans & process



A few hours travel by train from the bustling metropolis of Kolkata in West Bengal, lays the town of Phulia. This town has been renowned as a centre of excellence in hand weaving since Partition when hundreds of skilled weavers migrated here from Bangladesh. 



Seeking new lives, they established themselves in Phulia, building hand looms and specialising in complex weaves like jacquard and jamdani, which are designs based on their Tangail sari culture of their home towns. 



Our artisan partners



From the late 1950s, weavers began to form cooperative societies to organise and better market their products. Our weaving partner,  one such village weaving society, was established on 24th March 1958 by 52 local weavers. 

Today the society consists of 213 member weavers and workers, hailing from the villages scattered around town; while it’s predominantly men who sit at the looms, the bulk of pre-and post-loom work is carried out by women.

Around 15 of the oldest members are Master Weavers - those who are able to weave more complex patterns or hard to handle yarns, who innovate with new fibres, designs and techniques, and who are able to train the younger weavers. 



The society is managed by a small group of administrators and a president, who are themselves weavers. The complex consists of a long shed containing 100 looms, a back room for spinning bobbins, a showroom and office, and a small house where one of the weavers - Jhuran Das, who also doubles as a groundskeeper - lives with his family.


Looms are a mix of traditional pit looms - which are made by building the loom’s frame above a pit dug into the ground (and which are best suited to enable weavers to stay cool doing the soaring summer temperatures), and standing looms.