I can’t believe a whole year has passed! I am honored to have the privilege of participating in the annual sari competition again. This year, the competition centers around re-inventing our saris into zero-waste garments. To be honest, initially, I was intimidated by this prompt. However, I took the opportunity to challenge myself aesthetically, technically, and creatively, and I believe I am all the better for it.
After talking with Beth Shorrock (my teacher and AMAZING mentor for this project), we came to the conclusion that I needed to really listen to my sari, and that I should begin by cutting it apart and piecing it back together. Four days later, my sari had been reduced to hundreds of rectangles in varying sizes. I re-organized the rectangles by color and pattern, pinned them, and sewed them back together to make an entirely new textile. Then, I started digging into India’s textile history and thinking about India’s history. I thought about the impact of English rule and Gandhi’s bloodless rebellion, which allowed India to regain its sovereignty as a country. After my research, the garment began to take shape. I crafted a romper out of organic cotton and embellished it with thread embroidery. The tailored silhouette of the romper, with its high-neckline and short sleeves, draws a parallel to western European dress during the Elizabethan era. My new sari textile became a draped skirt, paying homage to traditional Indian dress and the spirit of perseverance in the face of adversity.
Even though I was initially intimidated, I am thrilled to have participated in the annual Sari competition for the second year in a row. Going forward, I am looking forward to learning even more about India’s rich history and culture through this year’s Eye on India Festival!
– Rachel Hentrich