This design is based on the Thebvora, a classic Chakhesang Naga nettle shawl - and a hallmark of the timeless and self-sustaining Naga lifestyle. Thebvo literally translates to 'nettle' in the language of the Chakhesang Khuzhami tribe. This is made of hand-picked, hand spun stinging nettle, hand woven on a backstrap loom. This wear-resistant and waterproof nettle cloth is perfect for a sturdy hands-free sling bag. True to the self-sustaining village economy, each bag is entirely handmade - from the hand-picked, hand-spun, hand-woven nettle textile, to the hand-sewn seams which use decorative finishing stitches.
This product is true to the original strip-woven Thebvora nettle shawl, adapted to a contemporary hands-free sling bag, which is made with a single piece of uncut cloth. It is exclusively co-designed and woven by Leshemi Origins, for ARTISANS' Gallery, to sustain the local tradition of nettle weaving. The minimal black stripe is a key design element. It is unique to the Leshemi identity, and highlights their restrained aesthetic. Today stinging nettle is woven only by indigenous women of the Chakhesang tribe in remote Naga villages in the mountains of Northeast India, on back strap looms.
The spinning and weaving of stinging nettle is increasingly rare. Stinging nettle is foraged from the wild once a year, in early winter. In a long and labourious process, strips of nettle bast fibre (stripped off the stalks), are retted, dried, thigh-reeled into twine, and hand-spun using a drop spindle. The yarn is then soaked in a coarse local rice broth, which naturally bleaches and softens the fiber. It is repeatedly soaked and sun-dried until the desired tone is attained. It is woven on backstrap looms.The flexibility of the portable loom enables women to work from their own home. The fiber-to-fabric journey is entirely local and self-sustaining (although the cotton yarn, once local, is now sourced). The natural black dye for the centre stripe is a completely local recipe: the cotton yarn is mordanted in tannin-rich bark (locally sourced from the barks of wild hazelnut, walnut and oak trees) which is then soaked in dark iron-rich paddy field clay. The yarn is then warped and prepared for the back-strap loom alternating cotton yarn in the warp and weft.
Each bag is entirely handmade. From the hand-picked hand spun hand woven textile to the hand-sewn seams picked in traditional stitches. The wooden button is also handmade in the village.
Locally foraged and hand-spun stinging nettle (urtica dioica), unbleached and naturally dyed cotton, locally handmade wooden button
Body: 10in X 8in, total length including sling: 39in
Body: 25cm x 20cm, total length including strap: 100cm
Please note that the natural colors of nettle and decorative extra weft designs are unique and may vary from item to item. Wash nettle fabrics by hand in cold water, using ecological laundry products. Nettle softens with washing.
All our products are meticulously handmade by master artisans one piece at a time. Due to this process, there may be a variation from one item to the next. Such variations are inherent in the manufacturing of handmade products, so you may expect minor distinctions that will make your purchase special and truly one of a kind.
Please note that this item is handmade to order. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. Dispatched within 45 working days of receiving your order. No refunds or returns.