Product Focus: Jamdani Shawls

June 04, 2020

The making of hand woven cotton jamdani shawls by Artha  Collections

A versatile shawl made in the most intricate way 
A must have for summer days

Our handwoven 100% cotton shawls are truly versatile!  They add a touch of color to your summer outfit and can be used in a number of different ways: Draped over your shoulders on a cool night out or to protect you from the sun. As a cover up, tied as a pareo and even as a blanket at the beach or the lake. Friends tell us they love them for trips to the beach with small children as they're super soft and gentle when wiping sand off baby skin. And though they look delicate they wash easily in the gentle cycle of your machine. Just hang to dry, no need to iron!

Read more below about the process behind the craft!

Summer cotton Shawl by artha collections
cotton jamdani shawl in black and cream
style a cotton shawl
detail on jamdani cotton shawl by artha collections
Woven using an ancient technique

The weaving cooperative we collaborated with is working and living in a village of West Bengal, India and has been in existence since the 1950's. It employs around 100 artisans, of which 60% are men and 40% are women. The women are involved mostly in the many pre-loom processes such as spinning the yarn while the weaving is primarily done by men.

Unlike many other weaving methods where the design has been "programmed" prior to the start of weaving, what makes Jamdani special is the supplementary weft technique applied to create the design. It is a lengthy process requiring a high level of patience and skill and watching these artisans working on their handlooms and pausing the weaving process every few seconds to separately weave each line of our motifs into the shawls, is captivating.


The beauty of Jamdani weaving was recognized by the Mughal emperors back in the 18th century and, thanks to their patronage, traditions and knowledge were preserved and passed on through to the generation of present day weavers. Considered the most intricate of Bengali craftsmanship it is sad to know that these artisans’ craft is on the verge of extinction. Our production partner has been working with the group since 2014 providing regular training to upgrade their skills to meet the demands of today's markets.