Products of quality and beauty do not appear overnight. A lot of time and effort is put in to provide only the best. So they deserve the time taken to make the Pashmina shawl.
Our Pashmina Shawls are one of those masterpieces of legacy—the original laborious process.
The Once In A Year Process
The process starts with collecting the Pashmina wool, the source material from the Changthangi goats of the plateau of Ladakh, India, found nowhere else in the world. The collection happens naturally only once a year, during the spring. Thus, it makes the supply of the source rare compared to the demand.
This wool is then segregated, and the best is chosen. The selected raw Pashmina is then picked and sorted to obtain fine Pashmina and combed and weighed.
The Complexity of Pashmina’s work
After seasoning and plying of yarn around iron rods by professionals, it is washed and dyed into colors as per its requirement and demand. As the fabric is almost 100 times thinner than human hair, this natural fiber needs special dyes and Rangers’ very close inspection and expertise.
The yarn of threads is then wound, and a warp is made. It takes around a month to spin 110 grams of the pashmina yarn on the traditional wheel while working 7 hours a day efficiently.
This warp is then weaved, which is then tweezed. Only traditional handlooms can be used to weave genuine and original Pashmina. The expert who weaves, called Wovur, takes at least one week to weave to create a 40 x 80 inches shawl.
The artistic embroidery comes in next, depending on the requisition. A single Pashmina shawl with delicate hand needle embroidery(also called sozni) takes months, even years, to be done. For an idea, Baledaar border embroidery takes approximately six months. Butehdaar embroidery takes approximately a year. Lightly embroidered all-over pieces known as Jaaldaar embroidery take about a year and a half. Whereas all over densely filled jamavar embroidery up to three years!
Why does it take so long in embroidery? Because artisans work on each square millimeter, filling it densely so that the ground cannot be seen. They follow the intricate pattern of small flowers, paisley, butehs, ensuring symmetry and alignment. As per the piece’s theme, there is a coloration, say vivid, tonal, pastel, and sombre. Pashmina Shawl embroidery is essentially an art and needs its own time for perfection, just like it was for Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel(it took him four years). A perfect synthesis of both- creative art and flawless execution is what an artisan sets to do, which brings their own time to complete. It should also give an understanding as to why are Pashmina Shawls so expensive.
In case, in between the processes of either weaving or fine needle embroidery, the whole process stops if something unfortunate happens to its artisans. Because the handwork of each artisan is unique, the rest of the shawl will be different from the earlier work. It is a complete loss as the shawl is abandoned. A shawl embroidered by two different artisans can be easily spotted.
After the final washing, which requires an expert to wash it in the spring waters gently. And after finishing the fabric, the shawl is ironed and sent to the market.
Jaali Badaam Aksi Pashmina Shawl took up to 2.5 years to complete
A single simple Pashmina Shawl goes through almost 30 stages. Considering the few artists who own this traditional art to date, it takes years to be made.
Calculating the time for even a single basic 40 x 80 inches Pashmina shawl, it needs more than 20 days of creation. So for a heavily embroidered piece of this beauty, it takes up to years.
The product has been traditionally alive for centuries. And with the intense amount of hard work, expense, and time, it is not easy, especially keeping the untouched beauty consistent throughout the time. But the Pashmina Shawl becomes worth all the effort when you acknowledge and buy it.