How Eri Silk Artisans Adapted to The Pandemic Times

At the time of writing this post, Mother’s Day was round the corner. This year is unlike any other – a year that began with a pandemic, COVID-19, and brought the wheels of most countries to a grinding halt – citizens locked down in their homes, offices shut, factories stopped production, and stores and malls closed. Behind all the despair of the humanity there was a mother figure seemingly happy – a mother who got to take a breather and feel cared for. We are referring to none other than Mother Earth. Happy Mother’s Day dear Mother Earth!

Eri Silk Artisans Work From Home Too

Most of us in Muezart are working from home (WFH) these days.

What about the Eri silk artisans who work with us? We have come to realize that they find WFH completely normal. They live in remote parts of the state (Meghalaya). Their daily routine does not seem to have been affected by the lockdown requirements. In any case, they were working from their homes – except that they take precautions now when they move around for their day to day necessities.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, we want to dedicate this special day to Kong Molina - a lady Eri silkworm rearer in our network.

Kong Molina is mother to 4 - three girls and a boy. 

Like All Moms - This Eri Silk Rearer Multi-Tasks

Apart from being a mother, managing her house and raising her children, Kong Molina is rearing Eri silkworms, spinning Eri silk, and weaving with a floor loom. Her work is based on orders she gets from her village contacts.

Kong Molina with her children having dinner

Eager To Improve Her Skills 

Kong Molina has been a part of Muezart from mid 2019. She started by spinning a Fingering weight Eri silk yarn for Muezart. Seeing her enthusiasm to take on more and more, Khraw, a Muezart team member and the person who builds relationships with farmers once asked her, “I see that you keep so busy. Despite that, you say that you want to become an expert at spinning the fingering weight yarn. What motivates you?”

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Degumming Eri silk cocoons in the backyard of her house

She replied, “I want to rear more Eri silkworms and produce lots of Eri silk cocoons so that I can spin more Eri silk yarn. This new yarn (fingering weight yarn) is different for me. I had never seen it. I want to be an expert in spinning this thicker hand spun yarn. There must be a market for this type of yarn because you are buying it from me.”

Can you hear the entrepreneur in her speaking? We find this same spirit in most lady farmers Muezart works with – the interest to explore new avenues of improving their livelihood.  

Kong Molina is self-directed and self-motivated. She spins Eri silk yarn for Muezart 4 hours per day.

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Washing yarn and cocoons at the community wash area

This Eri Silk Artisan Hopes to See Her Daughters Follow Her Footsteps

Due to COVID regulations Kong Molina had to adhere to social norms, but it is business as usual for her -  processing the Eri silk cocoons for Muezart, going with her daughters to a local laundry to use their facility to hand wash the Eri silk yarns and cocoons, cooking a great meal for her kids and feeding her chickens. 

When asked if this lockdown had made any changes in her daily routine, she said she got to spend more time with her kids, especially her daughters.

She told us that her girls are also improving in hand spinning Eri silk yarn because they have more time to practice.

Her daughters, she hopes, are Muezart Makers in the making 😊

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Cocoons being rinsed after degumming (as a curious pet watches closely)

Hard Work Is Second Nature To These Eri Silk Artisans 

Molina is also an ‘Asha’ worker – something like a Doula. She is part of a group of women who are taking care of the health of the infants and pregnant women of the village.

Kong Molina represents the many Eri silkworm rearers Muezart works with,. hardworking, caring, creative and entrepreneurial.

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Feeding her chickens
Here is to wishing more energy to Kong Molina – an Eri Silkworm rearer, Eri Silk weaver, Asha worker, a home maker, and above all, a caring mother.

Her daughter’s word sums it up, ‘’My mom is very inspiring and thoughtful. I love her positive spirit. She always advises us to go to school and learn. She is full of energy and she is beautiful.’’

A video of Kong Molina spinning yarn using a traditional drop spindle - A show of dexterous maneuvers

 

Happy Mothers’ day Kong Molina, and all you mums and mums to be.


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