Meet the Artisans: Kara Weaves

Lightweight-Bath-Towel-Orange-_The-Little-Market

We are so excited to share more about the incredible artisans behind several of our textiles here at The Little Market! Artisans at Kara Weaves create beautiful hand-woven textiles, from coasters to napkins to our newest collection of towels.

In 2007, Kara Weaves was founded by incredible women: Indu Menon, Chitra Gopalakrishnan, and Revathy Menon. Since then, as of February 2013, the social enterprise became a member of the Fair Trade Federation-India and World Fair Trade Organization-Asia. Kara Weaves is based in the southwestern part of India in the city of Kerala. The organization practices fair trade principles by bringing not only fair wages to these artisans, but also raising awareness for a disappearing craft.

The life of the product begins when the artisan prepares the yarn by sourcing, washing, dyeing, softening, bleaching, drying the yarn, and also applying any specific treatments as needed. Next are the pre-looming processes, which include spinning the yarn and setting up the loom. Then the skilled artisans start the weaving process. After that is the quality check, which happens in-house, and the stitching into products. The production process will vary based on how much fabric is required, customizations that may be involved, and techniques, such as motifs and prints, that are used. These textiles are made from pure cotton and with environmentally friendly dyes.

Artisans at Kara WeavesPhoto Courtesy of Kara Weaves

In the 1960s, the Indian government created weaving cooperatives to support and promote Indian culture and tradition on a global scale. Each of the products created by Kara Weaves is handmade by a local artisan who uses traditional wooden looms. Preservation of ancient techniques of making textiles, such as thorthu and medu, are important. These techniques have been created and practiced by the people of Kerala for hundreds of years. The material used to make these textiles, including the handmade towels, napkins, and aprons, are ancient local fabrics.

Kara-Weaves-Banner-{The-Little-Market}Photo Courtesy of Kara Weaves

There are two types of cooperative members that Kara Weaves work with, both large and small. A large cooperative is composed of 250 weavers while a small cooperative has only 15. After the cooperatives started to work with Kara Weaves, the wages increased by as much as 127 percent, and the number of weavers has tripled. A cooperative has also been given a grant by the Indian government to buy equipment and other resources.

Cocktail-Napkins-Photo-Credit-Marisa-Vitale-_The-Little-MarketPhoto by Marisa Vitale for The Little Market

A social enterprise like Kara Weaves is able to flourish when there are initiatives and programs to support the organization’s mission. We are so thankful that Kara Weaves shares our values of artisan empowerment and the preservation of traditional techniques. To have a piece of Kara Weaves in your home is having a small piece of India.

To shop the full collection, visit us at The Little Market.

For more ideas on how to utilize your Kara Weaves pieces, visit these links below.

The Secret Ingredient
Classic White Hamper
Curated Everyday Tote – Malibu
Accessory Report: Beach Totes and Towels

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