What type of textile is this?
It is an artisanal patchwork textile.
Was it produced for a specific use?
It was produced to utilize scrap material in the workshop where I produce my fabrics.
What material(s) is it comprised of?
It is made from archival production waste from Aranya. It includes many different types of materials including silk, cotton, jute, and linen and you can tell the age of the scrap by the print and fashion of the textile, even down to the shade of the cloth. You can also see how natural dyes have evolved over the years.
What are its dimensions?
1.7 meters wide and 3 meters long
What year (or date range) was it made?
The piece was created in 2021, but the elements within the patchwork date back to 1969, when Ruby Ghaznavi started the company, and it includes materials up to the present day.
Where was it made (geographical location)?
The studio is in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Was the textile handmade or mass-produced?
Every element of the patchwork has been handmade, naturally dyed, and either block printed or embroidered using a technique called Nakshi Kantha. The patchwork itself is made up of diamond-shaped sections cut on the bias, which makes the fabric hang like a bias-cut piece. It was machine sewed by an artisan at Aranya.
Can the textile be attributed to a specific designer, craftsperson or artist or a company that produced the item?
Yes, his name is Shamim Miah. He worked with me at Aranya to make it.
How did you come to own this particular textile?
I asked if I could use the production waste, and Nawshin Khair, who is the current CEO at Aranya, said yes because she was excited to see what I could do with it. And now they do their own version.
How would you describe the status of this textile in your lived environment (i.e. do you wear it, store it, display it, use it, etc.)?
I would say it’s a fashion textile, used for fashion and clothing. I store it in my studio. I haven’t cut it up because I want to keep a big piece of it, and pink is my favorite color.
Do you recall what drew you to this textile initially?
I was walking by one of the storerooms at Aranya and when I opened it, I saw all the bags of production waste and I was immediately intrigued with what I could do with this material. I wanted to do something clever with it, which is where the bias cut comes in.
What further information (if any) would you feel important to add about this textile, either in relation to your interview or more generally?
For me it makes me feel happy when I look at it. It reminds me of the legacy and the independence of Bangladesh and especially Ruby Ghaznavi as a sustainablity leader for Bangladesh. The more I learnt about her, the more I realized how Eurocentric the discussion of sustainability is. She has been trying to change what “Made in Bangladesh” means for years internationally, and I hope to continue that legacy.