R-Weaves is a branding and marketing program for exclusive, high-quality products made from Tangaliya and Single Ikat Patola fabrics, launched with the objectives of reviving the use of Tangaliya and Patola fabrics and making the livelihoods of the rural weavers/ artisans sustainable.
RWeaves supports patola, tangaliya and khadi artisans from 20 villages in Surendranagar district in branding their products and introducing contemporary designs that can increase the demand for their fabrics and ensure them of sustainable livelihoods. RWeaves provides traditional artisans with opportunities at fair trading, so that the maximum benefit of any trade reaches the producer. Currently, RWeaves participates in ‘craft exhibitions and fairs’ with the objective of creating greater awareness about the fabrics and for selling its products.
RWeaves and the weavers are experimenting to create a wider range of products. RWeaves organises workshops for the development of new designs and products, and is providing loans to the artisans to enable them to purchase raw material in bulk and to improve their working areas. It is also planning to establish a training centre and work sheds for the artisans, and to expand the market for the products through exports. Since 2010, these efforts have led to the weavers innovating and diversifying from their traditional product lines of saris, shawls and dress materials to products such as bed covers, cushion covers, purses, handbags and fashion accessories such as bags for trinkets, covers for mobile phone etc. This has enabled the artisans to reach a larger market.
Tangaliya weaving, also known as Daana weaving, is an indigenous craft that has a history of about 700 years. In this form of weaving, extra weft is twisted around a number of warp threads to make tiny dots on both sides of the fabric. The hand-woven and GI protected fabrics and shawls require high skills and accuracy to create geometrical patterns and forms in the fabric, which is made by the Dangasia community in Surendranagar District of Gujarat.
Ikat is a fabric that employs resist dyeing on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric. The word 'Ikat' comes from the Malaysian word 'mengikat,' or 'to tie'. Thus, the ikat textile weaver has to figure out where on the loose threads should go in order to dye the threads to form the proper pattern when it is woven on the loom. The single ikat of Surendranagar District is a more recent and low-cost variation of the traditional technique.
RWeaves adds a small percentage to the price fixed by the weavers for their products to cover its management costs. Currently, RWeaves is covering 70% of all its costs. It needs to attract more artisans and increase its product range in order to create a greater demand for the Tangaliya and Ikat fabrics.