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Process of Jacquard Loom and Naqsha Drawing

Another important process in making of Banarasi fabric is designing the motifs. There are several traditional artistis (Naqsha Bandh) available in Orangi town who might not be educated but can create wonder designs for fabric.

The unfinished, rough ideas and sketches are provided to these naqsha-bandhs by the wholesalers and are thus plotted on the graph. The use of various threads in the pattern such as zari, resham, polyester, etc. is separated on the graph with the help of colors indicated on a key chart. The wholesalers later decide the main colors and this information are forwarded to the weavers. The naqsha-bandhs do not have say in the designing of the motifs and patterns. They do what they are told to do.

Initially the design is drawn on a small size and later on it’s scanned and projected in a bigger size. When it’s projected in a bigger size then these naqsha bandh paste the graph paper over the projected design and then mark the points of drawing over graph paper. This way, the pattern or motif is drawn on the graph paper to provide the weaver with the exact picture of each thread making up the design in the process of weaving. The graph paper is usually very large in size where each box is prominent for better understanding of design. The designs and patterns are then transferred from the graph paper on a wooden frame (punch- cards) and are referred to as the naqsha.

To create ‘Naksha Patta’ the artist first draw on the graph paper with colour concepts. Now those designs are of varying kind .But most universal kinds are Caixg(Kalka), Buti and flower and foliage. There scene of village, fairs ,cloud ,dancing-monkey design. And even one can see temple and mosque design. In modern days one can see geometrical designs have come in, but it lacks appreciation. As traditional folk design remains the base appeal for Banarasi fabric.

Once design is selected then small punch cards are created those are guides for particular which colour thread has to pass through which card at what stage. For one small design one requires to create hundreds of perforated cards to implement the concept.

Once those perforated cards are prepared those are knitted with different threads and colours on the loom and according to design those are paddled in a systematic manner that the main weaving picks up right colour and pattern to create the design and weave as well.

These punch cards are then attached with the Jacquard machine for weaving the banarsi cloth.To create naksha patta (design boards) the artist first draws on graph paper with color concepts. Traditional designs remain the base appeal for banarasi fabric. Once the design in selected then small punch cards are created. These serve as guides for which color thread has to pass through which cards and at what stage. For one design, one requires hundreds of perforated cards to implement the concept. The prepared perforated cards are knitted with different threads and colors on the loom. Then, according to the design, they are paddled in a systematic manner so that the main weaving picks up the right colors and pattern.

A normal fabric roll takes around 15 days to one month and sometimes six months to complete. However, it all depends on the intricacy of designs and patterns to be created on the fabric.

Jacquard machines; these are the type of power-looms that are used for producing unlimited varieties of pattern weaving automatically with the help of punch cards. The patterns or designs we see on banarasi fabric are done with the help of these Jacquard machines. The loom is controlled by punched cards with punched holes, each row of which corresponds to one row of the design. Multiple rows of holes are punched on each card and the many cards that compose the design of the textile are strung together in order.

Jacquard machines that are used here in Pakistan are mostly mechanical machines rather than electronic. Originally the Jacquard machines were mechanical, and the fabric design was stored in a series of punched cards, which were joined together to form a continuous chain. The mechanical Jacquard requires a number of repeats across the loom width where as electronic jacquard machines which are used in big industries do not require repeat process they have an ability to produce unlimited amount of fabric.

Each position in the card corresponds to a “Bolus” hook, which can either be raised or stopped dependent on   whether the hole is punched out of the card                                                                                                                      or the card is solid. The hook raises or lowers the harness, which carries and guides the warp thread so that the weft will either lie above or below it. The sequence of raised and lowered threads is what creates the pattern. Each hook can be connected to a number of threads, allowing more than one repeat of a pattern. In weaving cloth, the warp is the set of lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom. The yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp thread is called the weft, woof, or filler. Each individual warp thread in a fabric is called a warp end or end. A loom with a 400 hook head might have four threads connected to each hook, resulting in a fabric that is 1600 warp ends wide with four repeats of the weave going across.

The Jacquard machines are more costly to maintain, as they are complex and require higher skilled personnel; an expensive design system is required to prepare the designs for the loom, and possibly a card-cutting machine. Weaving is more costly since Jacquard mechanisms are more liable to produce faults than dobby or cam shedding. Also, the looms will not run as fast and down time will increase as it takes time to change the continuous chain of cards when a design changes. For these reasons it is best to weave larger batch sizes with mechanical Jacquards.

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