Now, to teach children the art of weaving, he is launching Tamil Nadu’s first weaving school called Nurpu Handloom School in Chennimalai. “All the weavers in Chennimalai region are above the age of 55 and I think that’s the same case with all weaving clusters in the state. None of their children have taken up weaving. With gen-next opting out, handloom weaving is dying. I wanted to revive the art and decided to open a handloom weaving school. This will not be like a regular school setup — Nurpu Handloom School will be attached to the Nurpu Handloom Weaving Society’s production unit in Chennimalai. There will be weavers around and children will get a chance to learn the art from master weavers,” says Sivagurunathan.
Not just handloom weaving, children will be taught how a cotton plant is turned into clothes. “Since the school is attached to the weaving society’s production unit, students will get to watch the stage-by-stage process of cloth production. This will give them an idea of how cloth is made. After seeing the hard work and effort put in by the weavers, children will value their work. Not just that, this learning will also make them a better consumer as well. Before discarding clothes, they will think twice. I also wanted children to look at weaving not just as a source of income but as great art,” he adds.
Sivagurunathan was planning to open the school in April but had to postpone. “This gives me more time to work on the school set-up. Children above eight years can visit us and learn the art of weaving. Even fashion students can come and have a chat with the weavers,” he remarks.