Written By: Naina Khetpal
Eminent textile revivalist and entrepreneur Bela Sanghvi has been instrumental in reviving antiquated handloom weaving and handicraft techniques since the last 40 years. Now for the first time, we have Voylla crafted Patola( Patola is a weaving tradition of patan, in Gujarat) recreated in the form of fashion jewellery in collaboration with Bela Sanghvi.
The event annoucing the same took place on 2nd June, 2018 in Mumbai where the jewelry was exhibited. Bela Sanghavi formally unveiled the Voylla’s Patola collection. Speaking about Patola and her collaboration with Voylla, Bela said , “ The jewellery is designed using authentic Patola colours. We tried making it look just like Patola colours. All the vibrant colours in Patola have a story and significance to it. Red is very auscpicious and is used often in Patola. So is the colour yellow. In fact colour red is made from vermilion which is derived from haldi which inturn is antiseptic. The colours earlier have been procured from natural dyes and each colour will have a particular advantage for the wearer. Patola designs and colours are just not put together for the heck of it but involves a lot of thought and significance. When you gift a Patola to someone you make a wish for them. You can gift it to your mother, daughter, sister or wife. Some designs might look mismatched but that’s not the case certain designs are meant to put it that way.”
Adding more, Bela said, “It is so much fascinating that a lot is out in making one piece of jewellery. It’s interesting that it’s a fashion jewellery, it’s contemporary in a way, it’s versatile and you can wear it with so many different kind of attires. It’s amazing to see Patola in a contemporary context like this.“
Bela also thanked team Voylla and said, “It’s absolute pleasure working with all of you. It’s been a fantastic experience for me to work with the design team also.”
Talking about her inspiration, Bela said “Patola itself is my inspiration behind designing the jewellery. Not just the colours have a significance but also the design and placement have a reason behind it. The colours are extremely traditional. In earlier times, the base was harad, baheda and amla. It was all naturalised. Haldi is antiseptic and treated to get red colour. Neel colour will protect you from getting diseases. If you notice widows salwar need colour that is because they are in depression and depression will bring down your immunity so she needs to be protected. We think our customs have no meaning but it has a lot of reasoning behind it and then it got developed into a tradition. Now we don’t understand, we do not connect. For example, the moli (red and yellow thread) that we we wear when we do pooja that is a balanced thread of Patola.”
For depression Bela suggests wearing light colours. “Thought is everything, thoughts become things. I believe in that so what a person thinks or wishes for the wearer also matter. For example, a mother wishes her daughter all the happiness in the world. So she gifts her narikunja which addresses all the issues, money, abundance, food, happiness, peace. What more can one have. The designs and colours are not used just like that. There is a lot of meaning behind each and every colour and how it is placed. Blue is never placed with green because that will clash,” reasoned Bela
Sharing more of her vast experience, Bela said, “There are so many reasons and I’m still trying to understand and learn new things everyday. It’s so exciting, it’s been 40 years, I don’t think I know it all. Something new comes up every day. Patola is expensive especially the patan Patola. You can’t bring it down. They are dyed in the yarn form itself, using the tie and dye technique. There are a lot of calculations. It takes anywhere from 4-6 six months to create a Patola and sometimes even 1.5 years.
Colour therapy is what she suggests for children and adults if they have health or emotional problems. “If one has fever, use blue colour and fever will eventually come down. These are basic nuskaas that we have. It actually works. We don’t believe it now. Now we are educated, sophisticated and modern and all that but that’s not how it is. Patola is hand twisted yarn it is not machine twisted and the construction is such that the air passes through easily keeping you cool. Green colour can calm you down and bring down the temperature. Basic knowledge what are elders possessed, we are losing it very fast. We have so much happening around us that we are focusing on what we have. We have so much here but we don’t value it. Then we go and value Armani’s and all the big ones but try fitting into a Patola. Anyone, any age, any kind of mind set will be able to enjoy a Patola. One size can fit all. See the versatility of things that we have.”