Madurai Sungudi
Madurai sungudi:
Sungudi an important cultural and heritage art form of Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
Sungudi has geographical indication with Madurai. This tedious art was performed by a group of saurashtrians who migrated from Gujarat to Madurai in early 16th century. That is the reason the pattern of bhandhini and sungudis remains the same but the process of making both are different. 
We are v happy to introduce our master artisans Mr.Ramesh and Mrs.Vasumathi the people behind this art in Madurai, when we spoke to Mr.Ramesh he explained us the process and also various hurdles and ways by which the art can be preserved.
As we all know to preserve the art we must be aware about the art, the knowledge on this art form and also as a artisans they need a community who practices sungudi which will keep the art form live. They are giving free classes and training about how to make hand knots in cloth, dying, clamping and other finishing process. Mr.Ramesh told us we train 100 people we may get 2 person who is interested to proceed the craft. The challenge they face today is awareness about this in reaching the public ,as many printed sarees are also called sungudi where the price starts from 600 and goes beyond. So its v much needed to understand only when a saree is handknotted in madurai its called sungudi, the word sungudi by itself means sungu= knots. So if the saree is printed or has border like sungudi we cannot call them as sungudi. It can be called Madurai cotton / wax printed sarees.
In earlier days the history tells us in a sungudi saree there would be 100000 knots,since the process is very tedious and laborious. We are attaching various pictures for reference on how this art is made.
The artist shared with us that there involves a science in the process.. They breathe in during knotting and breathe out after that. This helps in maintaining calm and speed in the process
Earlier days finer cloth of 120 counts I.e muslin cloth are used to make sungudis but now they prefer Madurai cotton and not to forget they experiment on other fabrics too.
There is a misassumption in the market that sungudi has to be in handloom, but sungudi itself is a craft , whatever fabric we chose to do sungudi art is going to be same. So the choice of base material being handloom/powerloom is upto the buyer. These artisans make sungudi according to your preference i.e in natural dyes and also azo free chemical dyes. 
To commercialize and extend  the products to art lovers,various art forms along with sungudis are being experimented. We in chithra Looms have tried Sungudi with kalamkari, Sungudi on tussar with kantha, Sungudi with batik. We have further ideas of doing various blockprinting techniques with sungudi. This will enhance the look of the product and also design variations.
The art form is always enhanced by a good designer , so when designers work on this art form there is no doubt our sungudi will go to places and be appreciated all over. Government also should support these artisans in export and trading of these products.
So next time u go to Madurai dont forget our sungudiTrainingknotsFinished productClampingDying
September 22, 2020 — Chithra Kailasam
Tags: Sungudi

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