Eri Silk - A Peaceful Silk Coming from the Northeast of India.
Eri silk or is a deep rooted tradition in the Northeast regions of India, particularly in the state of Assam. Due to its growing popularity, it is also being produced in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The reason why the production of eri silk is particularly fascinating, is because it is processed without killing the silkworm. Eri silk are the pride of the North-East of India, with over 95% of it produced there.
The balmy climate of Northeast India is very favourable for the eri culture. Rural and tribal women traditionally carry out the processing, spinning and weaving as part of their daily life. For around 30 days the silkworm grows and munches on castor leaves until it reaches its final size. It then starts to spin its cocoon, which takes another 15 days. Once the moth leaves its cocoon, the silk is processed.
The status of eri clothes in the folklife of Assam is reflected in an old Assamese proverb ‘Dair pani, erir kani’, which implies that while curd (yoghurt) cools, eri cloth warms up a person (Chakravorty et al, 2010). Nevertheless, this eri silk has excellent qualities: it is very strong, combining the elegance of silk with the comfort of cotton and warmth of wool. The more it is worn, the softer it gets and it is a great textile to be worn all year round. Its texture, especially when woven with handspun yarn, is profoundly beautiful – always changing with the charismatic touch of imperfection.
What makes Eri Silk distinctively unique and the best amongst the vast ranges of Silk counterparts is its beauty that is added upon by texturing. Eri Silk is also textured, but the texturing is finer than mulberry silk, which ultimately adds up to its breathtaking yellow sheen. With a global interest in sustainability, today, Eri silk is gaining a rather loyal following.