A cluster is defined as a geographic concentration(a city/town/few adjacent villages and their adjoining areas)of units producing near similar products and facing common opportunities and threats.An artisan cluster is defined as geographically concentrated (mostly in villages/townships)household units producing handicraft/handloom products.In a typical cluster, such producers often belong to a traditional community, producing the long-established products for generations. Indeed, many artisan clusters are centuries old Artisan.
About Aligarh Cluster:-
Aligarh Cluster falls under Uttar Pradesh State in Aligarh district.
The Aligarh cluster is able to form 200 plus Artisans & 8 SHGs supporting the strong work force.The mobilisation gains momentum day by day.
The fabric is worked upon with a long needle,threads,tikris and beads.Multi sized frames are used, usually about 1.5 feet high,to secure the cloth on which the design is sketched with a stencil. One hand secures the thread under the cloth to the needle while the other hand moves the needle on top of the cloth with ease.
The production process of a chikan garment, assuming it is a kurta, goes through several processes. In each process a different person is involved. The final responsibility is, however, that of the person ordering the manufacture, who is also usually the seller. Chikan work involves several stages. The fabric is cut by the tailor into the required garment shape, after which the basic pre-embroidery stitching is done so that the correct shape is available to the block-printer to plan the placement of the design. The design is printed on the semi-stitched garment with fugitive colors, and the embroidery of the garment is then begun. After completion, the article is checked carefully since most defects can be detected at first glance. However, the finer flaws surface only after washing. The washing is done in a bhatti, after which the garment is then starched and ironed. The whole cycle can take from one to six months. Originally, chikan embroidery was done with white thread on soft, white cotton fabric like muslin or cambric. It was sometimes done on net to produce a kind of lace. Today chikan work is not only done with colored threads but on all kinds of fabrics like silk, crepe, organdie chiffon, and tussar.
There is a discipline and method in the application of the stitches. The darn stitch is worked on rough cotton fabric to fill angular designs and to cover the surface of the fabric, while satin stitching is done exclusively on delicate fabrics like silk, muslin, or linen. In chikan some stitches are worked from the wrong side of the fabric, while others are worked from the right side. It is however unique in its discipline in as much as stitches designated for a particular purpose are used only for that purpose --- they are not replaced by other stiches. For example, the chain stitch (zanjeera) will only be used for the final outline of a leaf, petal, or stem.Different specialists work with different types of stitches. For example, open work or jaali is not done by embroiderers who do the filling work - each worker completes his/her bit and the fabric is then sent to the next embroiderer. The wages for each job are fixed separately.
How to reach:-
Aligarh is situated at a distance of about 130 Km from the national capital New Delhi on the New Delhi-Calcutta trunk route of the Northern Railways. Aligarh is also connected by regular half-hourly Bus Service from Agra, which is about 90 km from Aligarh. Generally it takes 2 hours to reach Aligarh from Agra by Bus and from New Delhi by Mail/Express Train.