The art of weaving is truly remarkable. Observing the skilled women of Oodi Weavers as they sit at their looms, deftly intertwining fibers to create intricate patterns that weave an extraordinary tale of village life is a breathtaking experience. Weaving is an art that demands patience, as it can take over a month to complete a single wall hanging.
The hands of these artisans themselves tell a story, etched with wrinkles that form beautiful patterns, bearing witness to a lifetime of dedication and hard work. Nostalgia envelops us as we listen to their reminiscences. These women share captivating stories of a bygone era when their business thrived, and their crafts graced markets in Europe and the USA.
During those flourishing years, they crafted jackets, handbags, cushion covers, bedspreads, table runners, and napkins, catering to the diverse demands of their clientele. Today, their renowned wall hangings are the sole items in their inventory.
In recognition of their decades of dedication and success in running a cooperative, these women were bestowed with one of the nation’s highest honors in 2013 – the Presidential Certificate of Honour.
Established in 1973, the Oodi Project, initially known as Lentswe la Oodi Weavers, was founded by Swedes Ulla and Peder Gowenius. They imparted invaluable knowledge to the local community, teaching them the art of spinning, dyeing, and weaving.
The project’s original objective was to instill confidence within the local community, empowering them to manage their own livelihoods. At its peak, the cooperative garnered immense respect, both locally and internationally, thanks to their handwoven wall hangings, cushion covers, and bedspreads, all of which depicted the vivid tapestry of village life.
Now, four decades later, the women who initiated this project in 1973 find themselves reflecting on the past. They have aged gracefully and aspire to retire, yet they lament the disinterest of today’s youth in learning the art of weaving, citing the demanding patience it requires.