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Tata Trusts launch Incubation & Design Centre for handloom and craft development in Odisha

Maniabandha weaver
The Tata Trusts have launched an Incubation & Design Centre for handloom and craft development in Odisha. The Centre will serve as learning and business development hub to help rejuvenate handloom clusters by providing a comprehensive end-to end programme. The centre will facilitate development of weaver-entrepreneurs and weaver-designers to build a community of micro-entrepreneurs.
The weaver population in the Maniabandha Cluster is famous for its intricate tie-dye saris, popularly known as Maniabandhi sari and Khandua Pata. The fabric weaved at Maniabandha includes both cotton and silk varieties. The cluster is famous for its craft-rich tie-dyers, master weavers, and handloom traders.
This is the Tata Trusts’ second incubation and design centre post the launch of the first one in Assam late last year. The next design centre is to be launched in Nagaland.
In addition to regular sampling, the weavers will be encouraged to experiment with new fibres and designs, provide defect free products and communicate with the industry through multiple channels of instant messaging and social media.
Each centre will be equipped with a computer lab, video-call enabled classroom, study looms, buyer interaction zone and looms for sampling. A full-time six member team comprising of business management professionals, textile design professionals and on-loom trainers will mentor the participants. Participants will undertake co-design assignments with designers within the country and abroad through video-calling facilities. The initiative is part of the larger programme ‘Antaran – Transforming Crafts’, that aims to bring seminal changes in craft development.
The IDC will serve as the one-stop destination in this handloom clusters for textile enthusiasts, craft lovers and buyers who may visit the centre, interact with weavers and know more about the history of the handloom industry. It will serve as a platform for aspirational weavers and help establish business relationships.
Sharda Gautam, Head, Crafts, Tata Trusts, said, “The Maniabandha weavers are possibly among the last traditional Buddhist weavers left in India and we want to extend our support to sustain and build their livelihoods. Having launched a centre in Assam recently, we are pleased to launch the second Incubation and Design Centre in Odisha in order to empower and support the weaver community.”