In 1980 I received a postgraduate fellowship with the U.C. Berkeley Professional Studies Program in India. I researched and practiced drawloom and Jacquard weaving at the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology in Varanasi (Benaras).

 

The main subject of my study at IIHT was the renowned Benaras brocade fabric, woven in silk and gold thread. I was especially interested in the Jala, a device dating to the Moghul era that makes the loom programmable. Typically it is used as a drawloom attachment to primitive pit looms, often on the same loom as manually card-punched Jacquard mechanisms.

 

A summary of my brocade research titled Benaras Brocade was published in Ars Textrina (Charles Babbage Research Center, Winnipeg, Canada, Vol.3, May 1985) and examined from another perspective in Culture and Power in Banaras (Sandria Freitag, ed., University of Californnia Press, 1989).

Brocade weaver in a traditional pit loom with punch card attachment, Varanasi, India, 1981.