Kalita is from Assam in north-east India which borders Bhutan, Sikkim, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Here she belongs to the Assamese tribal communities south-west of Guwahati. Kalita learnt the craft of spinning and weaving by hand from her mother and has done this her whole life. Here below she tells her story and talks a bit about a usual day in her life.
The tradition of non-violent silk in Assamese tribal communities
Non-violent silk, also known as Eri silk, comes from the caterpillar of Samia ricini found mostly in the tribal areas of Assam.
The name 'Eri' comes from the Assamese word 'era' which means castor as the silk worm feeds on castor plants. Eri silk is often referred to as the 'fabric of peace' as it is made without killing the silk worms. This makes it both ethical to produce and ethical to buy (and wear!) as no harm has been inflicted on the worms in order to make it.
Kalita works from home and does all of the various steps in the cycle of making the non-violent silk herself. Her husband helps her when setting up and preparing the loom, as well as her daughter and son.