Weavers’ Service Centre
Training and textile weaving development centres managed by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, Weavers’ Service Centres (WSCs) were founded in 1956 with the aim of facilitating the growth of the handloom sector and making it a sustainable industry in the global market. The centres study handloom and weaving techniques in India and prepare samples of weaving technologies to train weavers. Founded by Pupul Jayakar, with a parent centre in Mumbai and three other centres in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, the centres were conceptualised under the government’s Planning Commission.
The centres aim to improve weaving techniques and innovate market-friendly products through providing technical assistance to weavers and facilitating interactions between artisans and experts working in weaving, design and processing. The research and development department of WSCs documents traditional weaving practices, studies loom development and modifications in design to develop shade cards and samples that are made available for weavers to purchase. Each centre also comprises a weaving section that contains looms, a dyeing and printing section and a design section, where design type motifs are created that can be easily recreated and taught to trainee weavers. Artists such as Prabhakar Barwe and Ratnadeep Gopal Adivrekar have previously worked in the design department of the centres.
In addition to direct revival efforts, the centres are involved in offering national awards that are granted to weavers annually and organise exhibitions, seminars and workshops on weaving techniques. To further support the weaving industry, the Ministry of Textiles has set up design resource centres (DRCs) in collaboration with the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) at several weavers service centres, including at Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Kanchipuram, New Delhi and Mumbai. WSCs have been instrumental in reviving several traditional weaving practices, including himroo, Kodali Karuppur sarees and Chettinad sarees. As of writing, there are twenty-nine WSCs across India.
Iyer, Lalita. “The Magic of the Weave.” Hindustan Times, November 14, 2009. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai/the-magic-of-the-weave/story-aIFneaa6MYm065f6SiV6eK.html.
Ministry of Textiles. “List of Weavers’ Service Centres/Indian Institute of Handloom Technology.” Accessed August 31, 2021. http://handlooms.nic.in/writereaddata/2483.pdf.
Mint Lounge. “How the Government is Reviving the Handloom Industry,” August 17, 2021. https://lifestyle.livemint.com/fashion/trends/how-the-government-is-reviving-the-handloom-industry-111629174799227.html.
Prinseps. “An Introduction to Weavers’ Service Centre.” Accessed August 31, 2021. https://prinseps.com/research/an-introduction-to-the-weavers-service-centre/.
Santhanam, Kausalya. “Reviving Textile Traditions.” The Hindu, February 16, 2012. https://www.thehindu.com/arts/crafts/reviving-textile-traditions/article2899650.ece.
Textile Value Chain. “Weavers’ Service Centre,” March 13, 2020. https://textilevaluechain.in/in-depth-analysis/articles/traditional-textiles/weavers-service-centre/.