Shillong (Meghalaya), Feb 12 : In recognition of the age old rich Textile tradition of the states indigenous tribal communities, in particular, the weavers and spinners of Umden- Diwon,the Government of Meghalaya through the Textiles Department has formally declared Umden –Diwon as the States first Eri Silk villages today ,on the lines of Hai Aan Silk Village in Vietnam& Sualkuchi closer home in neighbouring Assam.
Umden-Diwon with its vibrant culture, rich textile heritage, scenic surroundings, gender power presents a varied bouquet of attractions that are a multi-sensory overload. You will feel the heartbeat of nature, hear the call of the silkworms, experience the touch of warm hospitality & connect with the pulse of spinners and weavers. The area will instantly provide a visitor with a perfect symphony of sights ,sounds, textures, patterns,& weaves bursting with colours .
But above all its the Eri textiles of these villages that have earned a name for themselves for their singular Ahimsa Peace Silk, organic dyes, natural colurs, vibrancy, eye for detail, woven and spun by its weavers &spinners in their villages and adjoining areas, right from pre cocoon to post cocoon& owing to its favorable climatic conditions, topography, flora and fauna, rich association with its timeless legacy sand tradition, the Umden –Diwon village has emerged as the epi-centre of Eri Culture in the state, Sericulture and Handloom involves over 70% of full time active weavers.
It continues to draw researchers & visitors for its exceptional products which are ethically produced and organically sourced.
With a view to meeting the aspirations of the weavers, declaration of Silk Villages is expected to contribute to capacity building, design up scaling, financial assistance, promotion, selling & marketing &integrating the sector with latest technology to enable the village to further develop as a self-reliant, vibrant village, adding strength to women empowerment & propelling Meghalayas’s maiden Eri Silk Village as a Centre that will produce world class silk products, from farm to fibre , fibre to fabric& ultimately from Thread to trend, assuring availability and visibility of Eri Products and elevating Meghalaya Ryndia- Eri from a cottage Industry to a fashion and lifestyle concept, ensuring consistency and quality and further motivating neighbouring villages to pursue and promote Eri Culture.
In collaboration with NIFT,a Design Resource Centre(DRC) will be set up for the collective benefit of all its stakeholders. The DRC will portray professional presentations of Eri Silk products and design research outcomes in specially designed display areas. In addition DRC will provide unique branding and identity to the Eri Silk Village by depicting the specialty of the region, in terms of the colour, motif, usage and looms through appropriate visual merchandising. DRC will also facilitate an interactive platform for the artisans, industry and design students through display areas, specialized labs, resource centre and design activities.
An Eri corner on the lines of the one set up at Megh Tex ,Shillong will also be set up to showcase and establish market linkages between the village and the outside world, leveraging on the Dept of Textiles unique Ryndia Brand with the tagline “From Thread to Trend” , focusing on the elements of Peace ,the cocoon as a symbol of yarn, and the finished traditional product-the Eri Stole, showcasing Ryndia as a trendy luxurious fashion eco conscious Textile .Ryndia products are 100% Made in Meghalaya ,with artisans engaged in the entire f2f2f-farm to fibre, fibre to fabric ,with unique thermal properties, cool in summer, warm in winter, organic natural dyes.
It was a landmark occasion when all the Eri Producing villages under Raid Nongtluh ,Ri Bhoi district coalesced to Inaugurate the Special Eri Village signage at the entrance of the Umden Diwon area to the accompanying beats of the Snap Paka Khasi percussionists in the presence of the Textiles Minister ,Banteidor Lyngdoh,Local MLA M.Syiem,Commissioner Secretary Textiles,FR Kharkongor,Secretary Textiles,FM Dopth ,DC Ri Bhoi,RM Kurbah,Director Textiles and other local dignitaries,&Weavers and spinners .
An exhibition showcasing various unique Eri products of the area besides a demo Stall displaying the entire spinning,weaving and organic dyeing provided a fascinating glimpse to the visitors. Besides the Government notification inscribed on an Eri Stole with the official Declaration being read,the Ryndia logo of the Department ,Special Brochures on Eri along with product catalogue of the Department of Textiles, Special Stamp Cover on the occasion in collaboration with the Department of Posts ,Government of India was released to mark the occasion.
A special Audio visual Archive composed and choreographed by Summersalt the folk-fusion band was released and presented, interspersed with cultural performances by the Weavers and spinners of the area elegantly and colorfully attired in their traditional costumes, the highlight being the Shad rah Kynthei of the Umkon village.
The programme culminated with a interesting and fascinating costume display of Eri Fashion-From Thread to Trend-by 3 upcoming young Eri local designers-Ms Iba Mallai from Umden,Ms Baphinda Rynjah from Nongpoh and Ms Sakaru Kyndiah from Shillong .
The evening drew up to a close by a Special Costume Display cum Fashion Show on Eri presented by Fashion Society of Shillong.