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Textiles beyond Borders

Ritwika  Misra



About Weavers Studio Resource Centre, Kolkata

Weavers Studio was established on December 7th, 1993 as a textile company with a mission statement “to use as many hands as possible”. Weavers Studio has a textile retail shop in Kolkata India which presents handcrafted textiles of India, with a focus on Bengal.

In the past 23 years, the textile study centre of Weavers Studio has collected 2500 old and rare textiles with a focus on Bengal, India, South East Asia, Japan, Africa and important trade textiles. Additionally, 3000 books, journals, catalogs, magazines, short films and documentaries, on textiles and the arts are part of the collection.

To bring the collection to the public domain Weavers Studio Resource Centre (WSRC) was registered as a not-for-profit trust and was inaugurated on November 1, 2007. It has two units:

Weavers Studio Archives

A Textile Study Centre was set up to promote an improved public understanding and awareness of our vast textile heritage by bringing our own private collections to the public domain through special exhibitions, documentation and publications. It comprises of about 2000 textiles from several countries of Asia, Africa and world over.

Weavers Studio Library

Weavers Studio Resource Centre has the mission of creating a library as part of our social responsibility. In order to make the study centre truly effective, a library of reference books with more than 2000 titles on textiles and allied subjects has also been set up.


The Resource Centre aims to educate, build awareness towards our textile history, culture and work on revival projects, archiving, documentation, conservation, restoration, educational activities through exhibitions, seminars, field trips and important publications.  The end aim of the Centre is to piece together bit by bit the rich and varied historic textile legacy of Bengal and its surrounding regions while ensuring that they are accessible and speak to a new generation of contemporary practitioners of the craft. The vision is to build a Centre for sharing knowledge in different vocations and craft, and to create a platform for practice for the sustenance and evolution in its area of expertise with a focus and commitment.


About the proposal

The proposal for the visitors engagement programme is based on an yet to be exhibition on Textiles of Undivided  Bengal to be held in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. The programmes are sectioned keeping in mind two timelines:

i)  Pre exhibition phase opportunities & programmes that aims to involve various groups of young adults and student groups and skill levels to contribute toward making of the Exhibition.

ii) Programmes & opportunities during the Exhibition that targets various section of the demography.

iii) Outreach Programmes to market and publicise the Exhibition.

About the Exhibition

Weavers Studio Resource Centre (WSRC), Kolkata warmly welcomes everyone to come together for the launch of the much awaited exhibition Textiles across Borders in Kolkata, India in the Winter of 2021.

Looking at the history of undivided Bengal from the Sultanate period, the Mughal Subah, the coming and settling of the Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, French, and the East India Company, followed by the Industrial Revolution, British Colonial rule and the Bengal Presidency, it becomes evident that Bengal -East and West combined, had played a leading role in trade, textile traditions and cultural exchanges over the centuries.

In this exhibition, the WSRC uncovers  the magnificent and under explored history of textiles from undivided Bengal through over 100 textiles collected over past four years drawing from various national and international museums, public  institutions, private collectors and dealers.

Scope of the Exhibition

Textiles across Borders will take you through the nuanced history of the geographical region of Undivided Bengal, through its changing political dynasties, international trade network, poly colonial influences, migration, rise of Bengal as the hub of cotton production, British colonialism, the effects of industrialisation, right up to the movement for independence and the political and geographical rupture that was brought about by the partition. 

From the fabled muslins which clothed the entire world , to the rich history of lost textiles like satgaon quilts which was extensively produced in Bengal for Portugese market, the incredible skilled spinners and the genius master-weavers who produced the finest quality  of jamdani, to the kanthas embroidered by nameless women in the homes of Bengal, the luxurious silk produced in and traded from Bengal, the exhibitions will speak to the audience through various sensory mediums of textiles, photographs, maps, objects and archival documents.


OPEN CALL  to all those who want to be part of the exciting, power packed exhibition team. 

Work, learn, educate, grow and be part of the Behind the Scenes of Textiles across Borders. 


Check the openings and categories below and make your pick!



Apply here for Internship & Volunteer positions



The exhibition will ensure a holistic understanding of this textile tradition including placing it within its historical and socio-cultural context, dissecting its designs and motifs while drawing comparisons to relevant art forms, understanding the materials and complex techniques used in weaving as well as highlighting its current status.

The interactive exhibition will be aided by an audio-visual display, live demonstrations on the looms by weavers to showcase the intricate process of weaving . In addition, a series of events will accompany the exhibition including an International Seminar with prominent scholars, curators and textile experts discussing the textile  traditions, curated walk-throughs and activities. The exhibition aims to appeal to a diverse audience and educate them on the various aspects and contexts of textiles and culture of Undivided Bengal.




  • Over 100 textiles
  • Never before seen collections from Private and Public domain collected from Asia, Europe and United States of America
  • 3 months of Exhibition, Workshops, Performances
  • Showcasing award winning works of Master Weavers
  • Opportunities for Internship and Volunteering
  • Textile tours
  • Heritage walk
  • Panel discussions


We are  committed to make the exhibition to be all inclusive and invite participation from diverse groups of audiences. There is something for everyone so check the Visitor’s Program page for all the details which will be  updated every week.






Module I






Age group: 4 to 6 years

Difficulty Level: 1

Activity: In this session, we have art instructors to help the children create simple geometrical patterns by tracing the motifs from Kantha and Jamdani.

Have fun with colour as much as you want. No one’s going to scold for colouring outside the line. If you want a tree to be yellow, and fish to be pink, it’s all for you!

Colour them as they please and take them home.

Duration: 30 minutes

Maximum no. of participants:  6 children in one session.

Materials: Papers, colours and all fun facts will be provided by us.

BONUS: Take home a  set of 5 printed colouring pages.

Colour it, Click a picture and share with us .





Age group: 5 to 7 years

Difficulty Level: 2


Activity: A fun filled activity to create simple line based geometrical patterns based on motifs of textiles.

Take a pencil and join from one dot to another. Let’s find the shapes we get.

Duration: 30 minutes

Maximum no. of participants:  6 children with one guardian in a session.

Materials: Papers, colours and stationeries will be provided by us.

BONUS: A freebie of downloadable pattern sheets for you take home and explore.

Module 2 

Age group:  8 years to 12 years

Difficulty Level: 3


Activity: In this session, our art educators will introduce the idea of UPCYCLE.

Colourful pieces of fabrics from old clothes and textiles will be used to make little gifts for your home.

Little messy but a lot of fun!!

Duration: 40 minutes

Maximum no. of participants:  10 children  in a session.

Materials: Papers, colours and stationeries will be provided by us.

BONUS: Free guide book for you and your family so that next time you learn altogether.



Age group: 12 to 16 years

Difficulty Level: 3


Activity: In this session, our natural dye experts will demonstrate and help the children to make colours using natural ingredients like flowers, spices, and vegetables.

Duration: 40 minutes

Maximum no. of participants:  10 children  in a session.

Materials: All dyes, water and materials including apron and gloves will be provided.

BONUS: A downloadable kit book to help you make colours at home.


Assessment of the Young & Curious Programmes: How is the exhibition a kid friendly space as well as how  does the children seem to associate themselves with craft of textiles. Also how successful are the activities in creating a positive feedback and publicity for the show.



Weavers Studio Resource Centre offers fun and challenging programs for young adults interested in history, textile, fashion, design and visual arts.

Module 1


This program is specially curated  for the School Teachers.

Sessions: 2 hours session every Saturday

Time: 3 pm to 5 pm

What you get: A Teacher’s Resource Kit and Membership to the Archives and Library of Weavers Studio Resource Centre.

Registration required.

Please find the  link to the registration form  below

Registration for Teacher’s Program

Please download the introductory Resources Kit.

Resource Kit for Teachers


Module 2

Age group: 16 years and above




Number of Days: 1

Time: 11 am to 3 pm (including one hour lunch break )

In this one day long  workshop led by our Education Team  and National Awardee Weaver learn what it takes to make a textile.

With aid of pre recorded film, slide presentation, and live demonstration with a loom at our exhibition site, learn about the steps that goes in to making of a fabric.

What you will get:

Apart from new friends and lot of fun, you will be given a learning kit, comprising of basic introductory readings, illustrated manual of the processes and a pass to visit the Textile archives at Weavers Studio Resource Centre.



Module 3

Age group: 18 years and above













Number of Days: 2

Time: 11 am to 4 pm (including one hour lunch break )

Ideal for anyone  interested in design and textile , this 2 day  workshop, we will take the participants through major motifs that are found in the textiles like: Kantha, Baluchari and Jamdani. Their history, socio cultural significance.

The second day will be led by a contemporary artist where the  participants will be taught to pick up few elements of their choices and how to create patterns out of them.

Assessment of the Educators & Students Programme: The assessment is done on the basis of how well the Exhibition reaches to the education sector and centres of learning. A database of participating  of schools, colleges, university  to be maintained to find evaluate the pedagogical intervention the exhibition could generate.




Our workshops cater to all interested groups. From young textile enthusiasts, to designers who want to upskill their craft, to family groups.

Each workshop is curated according to the specific needs.

Keep an eye on the page for specific updates and reminders.

The two major workshops in schedule are:


“Art of Upcycling” by Dorji, a home grown brand out of Shantiniketan, working with a small cluster of women in villages of Birbhum.

Specially curated Textile workshop and  Tour packages 


“Introduction to Natural Dyes” will be conducted by expert masters in Natural Dyes from Rangeen, Kolkata.

Rangeen is the production and working unit where hand block & screen printing, hand weaving, value added textile techniques such as batik, shibori, clamp, felting, embroideries are undertaken for in house as well as to support the export business.

Participants interested to register please download the introductory learning kit from the link given below.

Introduction to Natural Dyes : Learning Kit


  1. Embroidery Workshop 

A workshop of 3 hours on different kinds of traditional Indian embroidery.

Timing: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Number of participants  : A group of minimum 6  & maximum of 10 per workshop.

This package includes :

  • A textile hands on workshop on different kinds of traditional embroidery.
  • Guided tour of our production facilities (weaving, dyeing, printing, embroidery)
  • Viewing old & rare textiles of the world at our archive.
  • An unique shopping experience at Weavers Studio.
  • Lunch & tea
  • Viewing Indian textile films
  • Visit and enjoy an exhibition / music / dance / theatre performance at our ‘Centre For The Arts’ or ICCR in the evening (depending on programme schedules of cultural events)

All materials required for the workshop will be provided by WSRC.

Cost: INR 3000 per person​/day (inclusive of all mentioned above)

  1. Block Printing & Tie & Dye Workshop :

A comprehensive half day package for the Textile Enthusiasts visiting Kolkata, India, from different countries and who would like to experience the textile heritage of our country.

Timings: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Number of participants : A group of minimum 6  & maximum of 10 per workshop.

This package includes :

  • A textile hands on workshop in tie & dye and block printing (All material will be provided by us)
  • Guided tour of our production facilities (weaving, dyeing, printing, embroidery) and textile archives
  • Viewing old & rare textiles of the world at our archive
  • An unique shopping experience at Weavers Studio
  • Lunch & tea
  • Viewing Indian textile films
  • Visit an enjoy an exhibition / music / dance / theater performance at our ‘Centre For The Arts’ or ICCR in the evening (depending on programme schedules of cultural events)
  • Visit our Digitization Centre where we digitize and archive sounds from old 78 rpm records.
  • View old and rare records, gramophones.  Listen to speeches by famous world leaders, old music and theatre, poetry by famous poets and much more.

All materials required for the workshop will be provided by WSRC.

Cost: INR 3000 per person​/day (inclusive of all mentioned above)

Special offers

  • A combined package of Embroidery Workshop & Block Printing & Tie & Dye Workshop available at a discounted offer of  INR. 5000 per person.
  • Textile student groups will get a discount of INR 500 per person.


  • Quick Guided Tour 

In case of shortage of time, we have an option of Quick Guided Tour of our production unit & archives. It is followed by a shopping experience at our store, visit to our Digitization Centre and refreshments.

Timings: 10:00 am to 12:00 noon / 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Cost:  INR 1500/-.per person


Assessment of Workshop based Programmes: Revenue generation is a key motive for these sets of programme. Apart from that developing a long lasting relationship with  the Weavers Studio. Footfalls and registration in the workshop sessions can be looked into to formulate plans for  interest groups, patrons for the WSRC.


This section will highlight  various oral narratives, stories and anecdotes which usually do not find their way to public.

Each week will have two podcast sessions in Bengali and English.

Time: Will be announced soon.

Location: Audio/ Visual room at the Exhibition Venue.

The live streaming with sign language interpreter will be also available on the Social Media channels of Textiles beyond Borders.

Transcription in English and Bengali will be available on request.



Museum of Untold Stories


Our grandparents have been the best story tellers we had in our lives. But do you know how your grandmother dressed when she went to college, or what did your grandfather wear to his wedding? Or when did your mother first wear a saree or what was the most treasured piece of clothing that your family has  inherited? So ask your grandparents, bug your parents to show that old picture, or that beautiful white kurta or pink jamdani that they still keep wrapped in mulmul carefully in their wardrobe.


This section at the Exhibition has been designed to bring together the family as an audience. Children, parents, grandparents, friends and neighbours are invited to make most out of this and fill us with memories and stories.

Time: Every Sunday, from 11 am to 1 pm.

No. of Participants: 8 (4 pairs) per session 

Pre registration :  Required 

Details to be announced soon.

Bonus: We will hear their stories, film their conversations. Teach you all how to take care of the beautiful textiles at home. And the best part you can go back to these stories whenever you want.


Assessment:  Since it is a programme that has targets a wider age group, it is will demonstrate how successfully the exhibition has made the subject of Textiles accessible in the popular mind. Also it gives a chance to see how many visitors make multiple visits to the show.


Publicity & Outreach






I want to thank Dr. Vandana Sinha, Stuti Gandhi and entire team at AIIS for all their guidance and help. I am grateful to CAA- AIIS for this opportunity and Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose for being the amazing mentor, pushing us and giving valuable feedback at every stage. My colleagues at Weavers Studio Resource Centre- Namrata Ghosh, Kavita Patel and Darshan Shah and everyone at work , who have been generous with their help and cooperation. I am grateful to Mr. Haripal Basak, a senior weaver in Santipur who was willing to share his knowledge.  I am thankful to Seonti and Suman from Dorji, Santiniketan who promptly responded to my queries and  shared  images from their  workshop with me for the project. Also all the fellows from the November- December cohort for helping each other.  At last but not the least the home-team; my mother &  Ayan Guha;  who has been extremely patient to give feedback and support at every step.


  1. Weavers Studio Resource Centre, Kolkata.
  2. Weavers Studio, Kolkata
  3. Indian Museum, Kolkata
  4. Victoria & Albert Museum, London.


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