The Bengal Diaries
We are in Burdwan, near the sacred groves of Santiniketan in West Bengal. A rhythmic clickety-clack drift towards us floating blithely on the warm, summer breeze tinged with the scent of cooking mustard seeds. Beneath us, the earth is baking. In the distance, a field is aglow in the golden hue of a flower.
As we walk towards the village, the rhythmic sound grows feverish, a waltz-gone-salsa. A flash of white and we see the broad-toothed smile of a weaver beside his hut, working weft and warp at a loom, clickety-clack clickety-clack. With a click and a pull, an ivory white fabric lies basking on the loom, as white as the grin of the broad hearted weaver. It is speckled with gorgeous polka dots that we know to be the fabled jamdani duria buta. We take in a moment to breathe as we gingerly pick up the fabric. Buna is born.
Tagore's Santiniketan and the surrounding precincts of Burdwan and Phulia in Bengal are home to the famed jamdani and khadi weaving and would soon become Buna's birthplace. Tagore's Santiniketan is unique for the rhythm of daily life, how the Earth makes her presence felt in every aspect of life, from the rustic architecture that blends into the landscape to the pursuit of art inspired by Nature. Santiniketan is home to Kala Niketan, the fabled art school which was created as a place for world studies where people from different walks of life and far-flung corners of the globe could meet and explore art, architecture, music and more in a shared global vision.
Buna has grown and absorbed the qualities of these places, inspired equally by aesthetics and ethics. A reflection of slower traditions and Zen sensibilities, Buna imbibes mindfulness through fabric techniques and explores minimalism through surface detailing.
A canvas of natural textiles of heritage value, particularly mulmul, handspun khadi, and chanderi mark the Buna repertoire. A dreamy, painterly, romanticism with focus on hand block prints and artisanal detailing define its visual traits. The label is unapologetically feminine, playful in technique and craft and yet minimalistic and reserved in its palette.
Buna has put down roots in the label's lifetime projects with the jamdani handloom weavers cluster of Burdwan and Phulia. With time Buna may grow to embrace many more.