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Weaving freedom in Meghalaya

Updated : November 2020


  • NGOs
  • Textile industry sustainability professionals

Training tribal women artisans for innovative natural textiles

Nongtluh Women Weaving Cooperative explore the artistic, sustainable fashion initiatives in Meghalaya. The symbols from their tribal traditions are interwoven with their artistic work. The Nongtluh Weaving Cooperative is using natural plant and vegetable dyes, as well as sustainable practices that are aligned with the natural ecosystem in Meghalaya. The co-operative is also particularly known for its fabric made of hand spun Eri – a silk yarn – in traditional colours. The main objective of the co-operative is to give women from the area the ability to participate in the economic, social and cultural activities of the handloom sector, whilst protecting the rich eco-system of Meghalaya with the use of natural materials and traditional, yet innovative methods.

Read More: Nongtluh Women Weaving Cooperative


Traditional eri silk spinning and dyeing

Handloom crafts of Meghalaya

Vegetable dyes for coloring fabrics

Artisan training programs for traditional weavers and spinners

Nature based designs in eri-silk

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  1. Nongtluh Women Weaving Cooperative


Nongtluh Women Weaving Cooperative


| Bangladesh | India | Myanmar | Nepal

Year Established



Nongtluh Women Weaving Cooperative are trained artisans in eri silk based clothing in traditional patterns. Eri is woven in and around Ri-Bhoi District with on its own and along with other yarns. The colours have been produced traditionally, and suitable for natural yarns. Raw materials are available locally and a vast range of products can be made with use of Azofree and vegetables dyes. Since its inception, the co-operative has been engaged in weaving, spinning and dyeing. Besides that, they also impart practical training to members in the art of weaving, spinning and dyeing.

Highlights and sustainability benefits

  • The Nongtluh Women Weaving Cooperative Society provides a safe haven for sericulture and weaving to thrive. These are the two most important cottage based, eco-friendly industries in the rural areas of Meghalaya.
  • Vegetable dyes are used for coloring fabrics. These are non-synthetic colours that do not pollute water or harm endangered species and rich agriculture.

About the Work

Most of the ingredients used for natural dyeing are locally available. Advanced Natural Dyeing program trained 60 artisans in the area. This was hugely beneficial to them because they were able to learn a variety of techniques like scouring and dyeing. This program was hugely effective because the artisans were able to broaden the spectrum to include 23 different colours using natural dyeing techniques. The co-operative is known for its fabric made of hand spun Eri – a silk yarn – in traditional colours. Many of the patterns designed here reflect those of nature. The co-operative consists of fifty three women folk artisans and weavers from the Khasi tribe. The weavers from the Khasi tribe learn some of their patterns from the leaders in the cooperative, or in many cases, they create their own. It is this kind of creation that is important to note, as the women weavers are not just workers but they are also are artisans and entrepreneurs.


These women weavers are innovating new patterns and recreating new methods in the art of weaving, spinning and dyeing.

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