Handloom Cafe launched in Chennai Egmore

Eatery opened to mark National Handloom Day by the Tamil Nadu Weavers’ Cooperative, popularly known as Co-optex.

The Tamil Nadu Weavers’ Cooperative, popularly known as Co-optex, has launched a Handloom Cafe in Egmore to mark National Handloom Day on Friday.

The walls of the cafe are replete with information about the State’s handloom weaves and those who create them. One of the walls carries a photo representing the five major weaving communities in the State, with an accompanying panel providing information about them and their weaves.

Another wall identifies the various motifs used in saris by name, and yet another showcases 20 different weaving clusters of the State.

Thazamboo and Veldhari motifs have been used to design the tables.

At the far end of the cafe, a specially designed Korvai loom, used in Kancheepuram, is on display. The loom was designed by M. Manickam, a member of the latest generation in a long line of weavers. His children, who are first generation college students, have also mastered the art. Two display cases, each at the entrance and near the loom, will display various varieties of saris woven in the State.

T.N. Venkatesh, managing director of Co-optex, said the cafe cost ₹70 lakh to build and funds for the initiative came from the State government’s support programme for handlooms.

“I have been toying with the concept since January. But the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown delayed its realisation. Here, students will also learn about the tradition of the State’s weaves,” he said.

“The cafe can be used for mini-seminars of 20-30 people,” Mr. Venkatesh said. The cafe will function from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The space outside the cafe will be used at a later date to set up small stalls during national and State-level handloom exhibitions.

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