The story of how silk was discovered is as enchanting as its sheen. Legend has it that a Chinese Empress was sitting under a mulberry tree when a cocoon fell into her hot cup of tea from its branches. As she watched, it turned into a ball of white thread. This accidental discovery was silk.
Priya Muthukumar will share many more “stories from the looms” with children and their parents in a session at Atta Galatta this Sunday. According to the performance storyteller, every fabric and every symbol, motif or print that finds a place on these fabrics has a history behind it. This is the second in the series of sessions called The Common Thread, which she is co-hosting with NIFT graduate Hansika Singh of Ecofolks sustainable fashion label. The latter will teach the technique of tie and dye.
Through these stories, Muthukumar wants to shed light on the significant yet unheard aspects of clothes and connect her listeners to the cultural heritage every dress carries.
She lets us in on some more trivia. “Mango motifs, or paisley as it is known to the Westerners, has a make-believe story to it — of how South Indians loved mangoes so much that they made sure their pattu saris (silk saris) have them on to,” says Muthukumar, who runs a startup in the city called Storipur, which aims to build responsible communities by way of sharing stories from the past about environment, social responsibilities, cultures and ourselves.
“We also want to reinforce the fact, that every decision we make has an impact on environment,” she says, sharing one more tale: “Once a monk asked a new shawl from Gautam Buddha. To which, Buddha responded, ‘What happened to your earlier shawl?’ Monk told him that it got torn, so he used it as a bedspread. Then he turned it into a pillow cover, a door mat and a wick for the lamp. Buddha left the place in silence and next day, the monk had a new shawl waiting for him.”
“The underlying message is reuse, reduce and recycle. Be creative,” signs off the mother of 13-year-old Dhiyaa, adding, “But I never moralise or preach that this is the ‘message of my story’. I let children decide their take-away.”
November 15. At
Koramangala. 11 am. Tickets
(Rs.400) on bookmyshow.com
— Barkha Kumari