Getting creative with fabric

Getting creative with fabric

Kale Nele in Bengaluru focuses on creating lifestyle products from traditional textiles, and thus promoting rural craft and employment

Kale Nele is an organisation based in Bengaluru. Its name translates into ‘shelter for art’ in Kannada. The objective of this organisation is to promote rural textile craft in the cities. It innovates with traditional textiles and converts them into lifestyle products. The organisation was founded in 2012 by Janhavi Kulkarni, who hails from Dharwad.

Nurtured with an unwavering passion for textiles, it functions on the model of a non-profit organisation. It promotes crafts from the rural parts of the State such as kasuti from Dharwad, khun fabric of Guledagudda, kaudi (quilts) from Anegundi and so on.

An array of products 

The organisation reinvents these timeless crafts and creates new products with a touch of colour and design. It blends various techniques to design items like cushions, runners, bed linen, torans, wall hangings, bags, totes, jewellery, cholis etc.   

The paisleys of Banaras are converted to cushions and runners using applique, where pieces of fabric are sewn together to create a pattern, and the soft toy making techniques are used to make tiny sparrows, which are used as embellishments on cushions or in wall hangings.

‘’The ability to imbibe our artistic richness and present it in a refreshing and palatable manner for today’s market is yet another goal,’’ says Janhavi.

Speaking about the Guledagudd khun fabric, she says that the textile is rich in its form and colour. There is a sense of grandeur to it because of its intricate weaving. The fabric was traditionally used in making blouses in North Karnataka and Maharashtra. With few takers today, the looms are shutting down. She believes the craft needs to be revived. Thereby, the organisation innovates with the art and creates interesting products, like the ‘Gubbi Play’ cushions. These cushions with tiny sparrows made of fabric, are grouped together to make charms for babies. There are also cushions with kasuti embroidery.    

Kale Nele has various themes for its collection. One of the categories is ‘Nimbe’, which means lime, and is available in green and is said to symbolise energy and renewal. Inspired by nature, the theme is showcased in the products. 

The system of production in this organisation grants employment opportunities to the rural people. The weavers of Guledagudda, the women from Gadag who hand-dye yarns, kasuti artisans from Dharwad and the karigars from Bihar have benefited from this.  

Savitri, a mother of four from Hubballi, has been doing kasuti work for Kale Nele for the last five years. She makes panels, shawls, sarees and dupattas. 

Success stories

The goal of Kale Nele is to explore and enrich what this country has to offer and reach out to many more families, create pockets of sustainable employment and showcase our rich textile traditions across the world. Siddappa, a weaver from Guledagudda, says, “This is what I know, and will die with, but I am assured that with Kale Nele the fabric will live and the future generation will continue this tradition.”

Kamlavva, a weaver, says, “We only wore blouses of this material, but the organisation has shown us the potential of this fabric that we started losing faith in. Our economic condition has also improved. ” The commitment of the organisation to khun fabric for the last five years has got it to a point where its orders close at 2,000 metres of fabric every quarter.

Peer Pasha a small-time filler vendor is very happy with Kale Nele. He says it always clears his payments without any hassles. Thereby, it has ensured that unorganised sector functions in a professional manner aside from promoting local craftspersons.

For more information about this organisation, call 9900153822.