ERI SILK & KHNENG EMBROIDERYadmin
TIP linked with global facilitators like Carol Cassidy of Lao Textiles (South East Asia) to initiate with NESFAS work on preservation of the traditional skill of Eri weaving in early 2014. Ms.Cassidy’s visit to the weaving communities of Meghalya allowed her to assess the traditional weaving skills, existing product and the quality and quantity of the Eri silk, also locally known as ‘Ryndia’. She observed the challenges faced by the weavers and recommended NESFAS develop a traditional Eri silk preservation and handicraft programme. There is very little investment required for Eri cultivation, hence Eri silk has earned the name, “poor man’s silk” , however with a rich texture and flexibility of fabric that remains cool in summer and warm in winter. Eri silk is also known as “ahimsa silk” or ‘‘peace silk’’ as the extraction of the thread from the cocoon does not involve killing of the worm. Cross institutional collaboration and has partnered with the Department of Sericulture and Weaving, and other local and international development agencies working in the field of Eri silk. The first collaborative effort between NESFAS, the Department of Sericulture and the Department of Forestry was a plantation day of food plants for the Eri silk worms, that took place on the 6th of June 2015 in Khweng village.
Khneng embroidery is a traditional craft from Mustoh, Shella and other nearby villages. Khneng was rediscovered when the danger of its disappearance was brought tolight to Mr. Phrang Roy, Coordinator TIP, by his family who have their ancestral home in Mustoh. Around the same time Special Purpose Vehicle Society (SPVS), Meghalaya, under the Chairmanship of Mr. G. P. Wahlang ( IAS), former Chief In-formation Commissioner of Meghalaya, was looking to support activities within the region through his society. The two organisations took a decision to jointly work to revive the Khneng. Following preliminary visits in December 2014, NESFAS initiated a workshop on preservation of Khneng from the 28th January to 5th February 2015 with the help of local consultant, Ms. Lajoplin Nongsiej and Ms. Anna-Louise Meynell, consultant from Scotland. It was conducted with the last three knowledge holders of Khneng and 11 trainees from the village who were willing to take it up and focused teaching of simple patterns and identification of other patterns. SPVS further supported the workshop by funding a medical eye checkup for the Khneng artisans later that year in September 2015 based on the fact that the Khneng needlework strains the eye and could lead to vision issues.