The Toloom project creates a support system for traditional weavers through a web interface that lets users create patterns, become aware of weaving processes and aid traditional weavers by providing them with patterns with global aesthetics and new market opportunities.
Traditional weavers in various weaving communities in India have been losing time honored craft traditions due to the arrival of factories and machine looms in their local communities. While some weavers choose to work in the mechanized factories, their peers who stick to handlooms struggle to compete with cheaply priced, factory produced products and designed products in the global marketplace. The current system does not allow for valuing products based on the skill and time that goes into their making and subsequently, the weavers are barely able to maintain a very low standard of living. A weaver from Bhagalpur, Bihar spends two weeks producing silk from cocoons and weaving a raw silk scarf which retails for 500Rs. or $10. By contrast, products created using a similar process commissioned by a designer could retail for as much as $100. Collaboration between Creative Internetters and craftspeople from traditional weaving communities can help weavers compete with designed products in global markets, while giving Creative Internetters an opportunity to learn age-old weaving practices using a contemporary interface vernacular.
The Toloom project creates a system for tapping into the creativity and global aesthetic awareness of Creative Internetters - a group of web-savvy, socially connected consumers and creators. Toloom’s web-based interface simulates the key components of a physical loom and affords users the ability to create patterns that can realistically be woven on a handloom. With the help of Creative Internetters and Toloom, traditional weavers will be able to access patterns with globally-influenced aesthetics and expand their markets, yet their products will maintain the priceless value created through unique, ancient processes executed with human intelligence and care. Creative Internetters will be able to relate to the craft, connect to weavers and buy products designed by them from the marketplace.