BEHIND THE SCENE
A look inside of what people usually don't see.
With a little touch of magic, the Red Halo team takes you on a journey through time.
Discover the process from the thread to the final item, some of the technics used in our collections, the surprisingly diverse art crafters who maintain an ancient know-how and keep the invaluable heritage of Banaras, life in our workshops and more.
Anything behind the scenes...
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In the very beginning comes a dyed yarn
The most common yarn dyeing process in Banaras (Varanasi) is still manual and allows to give some work to more people than if it was done by machines.
Red Halo is committed to using natural pigments which provide a wide range of color shades options.
This picture shot in the yard of one of our workshops, shows the end of the process when the yarns are hung to air dry.
warp and weft
There is a Muslim cemetery nearby the handloom workshops area in Banaras (Varanasi), where the weavers take advantage of the only open space available to strech their “taana” (warp).
They have to work carefully in order to avoid walking on the tombs.
The master weaver carries out the process of warp making depending upon the requirement of the design and colour combination.
The threads are streched together in order to make a “taana” roll which will provide the loom frame of the weaver once this is achieved.
Somehow the loom of life never stops, the soul of the elder generations is not completely resting but guiding those men in their daily task, making sure that the transmission of traditions will be accomplished...
The handloom process
The warp threads pass alternately through a heddle and through a space between the heddles (the shed), so that raising the shaft raises half the threads (those passing through the heddles), and lowering the shaft lowers the same threads passing through the spaces between the heddles remain in place.
The magic in the whole process is made of the same "stuff as dreams are made on" (Shakespeare)...
A journey through time in a handloom workshop.
Weaving silk brocade on a handloom machine
A handloom workshop in Banaras (Varanasi).
A punched card on a handloom machine
Complex patterns such as brocade or damask need punched cards fitted to a loom that simplifies the process, it is a"chain of cards" made by a number of punched cards laced together into a continuous sequence.
Multiple rows of holes are punched on each card, with one complete card corresponding to one row of the design which needs between 1 500 to 3 000 cards according its pattern.
This mechanism was invented by French weaver Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1804.
A shuttle is a tool designed to neatly and compactly store a holder that carries the thread of the weft yarn while weaving with a loom.
Shuttles are thrown or passed back and forth through the shed, between the yarn threads of the warp in order to weave in the weft.
Shuttles are made from a flat and narrow piece of wood with notches on the ends to hold the weft yarn, they incorporate bobbins as well.
Shuttle on handloom
Applying lime plaster to transfer the design on a throw
Red Halo favours the work done by hand rather than by machine in order to give work to more people.
Therefore the making of our throws becomes a long process.
On the left Prakash and Gautham apply lime plaster on a paper layer where the design was previously pierced with a needle.
This transfer allows the embroiderer to fill up the lines easily.
Lime plaster on a layer paper
Prakash working on a Aari embroidery on the "Lodhi" throw, following the design transfered with the lime plaster application.
His hands are moving according his inspiration and brings a particular touch making each piece unique.