Weavers of Erode’s 1010 Colony now weave cradle cloths for newborns

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Weavers of Erode’s 1010 Colony, with help from C Sivagurunathan’s Nurpu initiative, are tiding over the pandemic by weaving unbleached cradle cloths for newborns in breathable, sturdy cotton

Hooded towel
The weavers of 1010 Colony in Erode took the gloom of the pandemic with their usual stoic silence for the first few weeks. But as orders dried up, they started to look for other means of income.

A cradle set 
This meant death for handloom in the region: already, of the 1010 weaver families in the colony, only a handful continue to weave. C Sivagurunathan, who gave up a well-paying IT job in Chennai to start Nurpu, an initiative through which he makes work available for weavers in the colony, decided to do something about the situation.

“People were not buying clothes as much, and I, too, faced a stagnant situation sales-wise. For a start, we thought of weaving cradle cloths and wraps for newborns,” says 33-year-old Sivagurunathan, speaking over phone from Erode. He designed the cloth as a four-metre-long, breathable yet sturdy fabric of unbleached cotton that can be readily converted into cradle. He paired it with a thicker swaddle cloth, that comes with a tiny hoodie, and a handcrafted teak wood separator that, traditionally, was positioned in between the cradle to let air in.

Cradle cloth 
Sivagurunathan first wanted his products to reach people who needed them the most. “Babies born in Government hospitals, for instance, are usually wrapped in thick sleeping bags with synthetic stuffing when they are taken home,” he points out. These are easily available and are inexpensive as well. “But they are not suitable for delicate skin, especially in the summer months,” he says. The first cloth that a baby is wrapped in, according to Sivagurunathan, is more than just a utility item. “It is the first fabric the baby’s skin touches, and I know of families that keep this piece of fabric as memorabilia for years. A friend, for instance, told me that his family still has the cloth his father was wrapped in as a baby.”

To kickstart the initiative, Sivagurunathan took the crowdfunding route. “The idea is to give away 100 sets for free, to babies born in Government hospitals. We have got enough funding for 40 so far, and our weavers are on the job, working six to seven hours a day,” he says, adding that around six families in the colony are working with him at present.

The sudden spurt of activity has the weavers energised. “All they want is some work on their hands to keep them going,” Sivagurunathan feels.

The cradle cloth kits come in thick cardboard boxes, hand-made by visually-impaired artisans who are also from Erode. “The wooden separators too are locally-produced,” explains Sivagurunathan. Meanwhile, orders from friends who want to gift the sets have started coming in. So things are looking up for the weavers of 1010 Colony, who are working to the rhythmic clackety-clack of the hand-loom to produce around five metres of the precious cloth a day, as you read this. Says Sivagurunathan, “We hope that through the new-born, the message of our home-grown handloom reaches parents too.”

A box with a four metre-long cradle cloth, a one metre-long swaddle cloth, and a teak wood separator is priced at ₹1,100. For details, visit http://www.nurpu.in/.

Source: The Hindu

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Indian Weaver Community : Weavers of Erode’s 1010 Colony now weave cradle cloths for newborns
Weavers of Erode’s 1010 Colony now weave cradle cloths for newborns
Weavers of Erode’s 1010 Colony, with help from C Sivagurunathan’s Nurpu initiative, are tiding over the pandemic by weaving unbleached cradle cloths for newborns in breathable, sturdy cotton
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