When brainstorming for their 75th anniversary celebrations, the team at Raj Group, a leading manufacturer and exporter of high end rugs and carpets, decided to look beyond a champagne toasting soiree. Instead, the company, which boasts of international clients such as Anthropologie, Coach, JC Penny and H&M, decided to showcase their skills at weaving in a unique way. The result is an exhibition of 18 wall hangings that have been handcrafted using varied yarns including wool, jute, fabric and PET fibre made from recycled bottles. “Globally, for us the product has been the star and we wanted to showcase what we are best at and that is weaving,” said Sumeet Nath, managing partner, Raj Group.
The five-day exhibition, which rolled out on Friday, presents wall hangings that don’t come across as carpets or rugs. Highlighting different techniques of weaving that the company specialises in, the grand size pieces have been designed in such a way that they resemble art installations. “These have all been designed by our in-house team and crafted by hand by our weavers in our factory in Panipat,” mentioned Nath. Among those that catch one’s attention are the wall hangings inspired by paintings. A line of weather-beaten trees in ink blue to a vibrant orange-hued wall hanging that shows a bunch of poppies, could well be mistaken for art on canvas.
Though the basic art of weaving on the loom hasn’t changed much over the years, said Nath, but with this commemorative collection, the idea was to push the limits. This comes across in the designs where different styles of weaving have been mixed up. For instance, a huge wall hanging reminiscent of a native American dream catcher with its round frame and long multi-hued tassles that touch the floor showcases different patterns used in weaving rugs. Most of the ends of the works have been left unfinished and will help the viewer realise the different yarns that have gone into making a single piece. Interestingly, the company has documented their past work and styles in a coffee-table book that was circulated privately earlier this year. Speaking of retail back home, Nath said, “We are working towards launching in India but will go the e-commerce way initially. Also we hope many of the international brands that we supply to will launch in India soon,” said Nath, who is now hoping to take this exhibition to art galleries across the country. They will however not be put up for sale. “Once these have been showcased, they will be part of a weaving museum that we are setting up in our factory premises in Panipat,” said Nath.
The exhibition is on till July 8 at The Stainless Steel Gallery, Mathura Road, New Delhi