‘Hand and Soul of Paithani’ was conceived in September 2016 as part of the collaboration between Central Saint Martins and MIT-ID, Pune under the Social Immersion- Design for Social Needs programme. A conversation with the Director of MIT- ID Pune, Prof. Dhimant Panchal and Associate Prof. Harshit Desai, led to a very spontaneous plan to visit the Paithan village.
Paithan is very well known as the origin of the Paithani Sarees- handwoven silk, one of the richest saris in India. Team members Andres Restrepo and Geetanjali started their journey towards the village and were lucky enough to visit the one and only Handloom centre with about 100 functional units, also see the making process of the saree. They also got an opportunity listen to stories of the makers as well as the heads of the organisation, and weave their own eventually for the students of MIT-ID. To showcase their findings , Andres and Geetanjali came up with a quick intervention, pre- mapping the emotional journey of someone who has no clue about these sarees beyond their name.
They successfully were able to use existing materials present in the space, and a cheap version of the saree to create an atmosphere which blended with the story we wanted to tell. With the help of a short set of questions covering the history of the sarees, and a movie they conveyed the present state of affairs, and urged the students to forecast possible scenarios to speculate the future of this craft.