Upcycled Craft - Chindi Braiding
Recent trends have witnessed a rise in the popularity of upcycled products, especially old garments. Upcycling refers to the process by which old or used products and unwanted materials get re-adapted or re-purposed in a creative way to give rise to new useful items.
As such, India boasts of an age-old craft of upcycling garments. It is called Chindi. The most common translation for the word is ‘ fabric scraps’ or ‘ torn cloth’. As the name entails, the craft involves the utilisation of scraps of fabric that gets knitted or crocheted into various products, such as rugs, baskets, coasters, tote bags, tapestry, floor mats and so on.
Chindi is a craft traditionally practised by women. They made use of the old cotton clothing or sarees available in their domestic sphere to make these products. They gather various fabric scraps and make a yarn out of them. These fabric scraps do not need to be of the same colour. The varying colours of the yarn add a whimsical charm to the finished products. The yarn is then knitted or crocheted to give shape to the various products.
Nowadays, the craft is not limited to the domestic sphere anymore. Scraps of fabrics from the textile industries, along with various materials such as jute, silk and even synthetic fabric scraps are being utilised. The craft has also become a means of livelihood for the community
(women) engaged in it. With the craft’s evolution from a domestic one to a professional one, it has garnered a lot of international attention, especially with regards to sustainably dealing with industrial textile scraps.
Since Chindi products are handmade and utilise varying fabric scraps, the finished products are unique in their tone and texture. No two products will bear similarity in colour or pattern as mass-produced commercial goods do. In its employment of fabric scraps that would otherwise be thrown away, it is a craft that transforms what would have been mostly considered trash by others into treasures.