Monthly Archives: February 2019

The People of India

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I recently had a holiday to India when I visited Delhi, Varanasi, Lucknow and Agra. It was a fantastic trip aimed at learning about Indian textiles. The experience was wonderful, enhanced by the many people that I met en route. How do they do this?.

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IMG_2478Making fishing nets , the whole family involved

IMG_2498Still working! This time assembling packets for sale Could be a knit and natter group

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The Village water supply

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Crafts of India (2)

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Rural India where artisans make fine hand knotted carpets. Here, in the village centre,the cows relax in the shade.

The village “pond” where clothes are washed and young men fish for dinner. In the foreground cow dung is drying in the sun, waiting to be used as fuel.

Young men dying the silk in cold water vats. The hanks of silk are dunked and rotated through the dye vats. The women stay at home and work in the fields.

“Boilers” waiting to be fired up to heat the hot water dying vats. Note the winding apparatus to place the hanks of silk on ready for dying.

Field of drying yarn hanks both silk and wool. Destined to become carpets. This region ( Bhadohi) employs 2.2 million rural artisans in a 100% export orientated industry.

The end product Beautiful silk carpets. Which incidentally, reached the UK within 10 Days.

Crafts of India (1)

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IMG_2657When in Agra I visited a marble workshop where men worked day upon day creating marble masterpieces. They inlaid semi precious stones into the marble to make gorgeous tables coasters and hand carved elephants I couldn’t carry one in my hand luggage ( and neither could I afford it) but they were absolutely beautiful.

 

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Agra is also the home of the beautiful Wonder of the World known as The Taj Mahal I visited just after the dawn on a magical misty day. I am so very grateful to have had the opportunity.

 

 

 

The Colours of India

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Just about recovered from my jet lag and thought that I would share some memories with you.We visited Surajkund International Craft Fair where there was no shortage of colour, noise, smells and people. An amazing assault on the senses, but one that I wouldn’t have missed.Beautiful textiles at every angle There was silk,wool, and cotton in a rainbow of colours, hues and shades. It would have been very rude not to buy ! So I did! ( many times!),No “Political Correctness” hereNo Magnolia here!

The Indian Terracotta Army?

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Don’t you just love these Terracotta horses? We visited the Sanskrit Centre today. It is a museum and arts centre with three museums. The museums are dedicated to Terracotta (or pottery) Everyday art and Textiles. Sadly we could not take pictures of the inside and their beautiful textile display. Also they did not have post cards or photographs of the displays as it would not be in keeping with their philosophy of no commercialism.

There were artists in residence with accommodation available. We saw a potter making these clay horses and I met a photographer who was on a seven week sabbatical. A lovely place to retreat into crafts.

The exhibition of textiles was amazing and inspiring. Another Forget me not sort of a day.

Taj Mahal

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Memorable visit to Taj Mahal today in this wonderful, amazing land of contrasts.The poverty is difficult to swallow but the culture is immersive. I love love love the textiles and crafts. I am with a specialist textile company called Colouricious who have taken us to hidden gems. Whilst I am devastated that we have not had a block printing workshop ( my reason for coming) I am loving the other textiles. I am learning as much from my travel companions as we are all like minded.Marble inlaid with semi precious stones

Only a few more days to go before home.

Lucknow India

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This city is marginally cleaner than Delhi with more parks and open spaces. Yesterday we had a Chikankari workshop. It took place in the home of the owners and we enjoyed the beautiful work Four ladies working in the studio attempted to teach us this regal stitch. It is a fine embroidery stitch worked in white on white muslin. Beautiful and labour intensive.

My attempt was not very good! In fact it was all wrong!Marks outdoor 10? 1 for effortWe had a lovely lunch, in the garden, of local delicacies We returned via a Rickshaw This is the second ride on a rickshaw and I hope Not to put my life at risk again in this chaotic crazy traffic filled city Phew!

Textile Treasure Hunt

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This Textile Treasure Hunt here in Varanasi India just keeps on giving. Today we visited silk weaving. This is carried out in the homes of local people in rural areas. I

am in a permanent state of shock, both culturally and dietary. The people are lovely and regard us as odd because many rural communities have not seen “white”faces before, especially the children.

The silk weaving is the main occupation and carried out by the men. It is a patriarchal society.

The silk produced is beautiful, colourful and hand woven. It is mainly produced for Saris, scarves and for dressmaking.

This morning we visited a Hindu village where the looms are hand driven just as they have been for hundreds of years. During the afternoon we went to a Muslim area of Varanasi where the looms are motor driven . We had the inevitable shopping opportunity where a beautiful silk scarf found its way into my bag!

just an example of some of the intricate weaving.