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.
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.
No words can describe the ceremony that I was privileged to witness last night. It is a ceremony to pay respect to the holy Mother river The Ganges. There was multiple thousands of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Shiva and the river. Numbers were swelled last night as pilgrims had come from another ceremony about 100 kilometres away. Varanasi is a once in a lifetime holy place for Hindu people to visit. It felt like the whole nation came last night.
We traveled down to the river on a ramshackle cycle driven Tuc Tuc A hairy and thrilling ride through chaotic hooting traffic. I held on for my life and kept my eyes shut much of the time !We viewed the ceremony from a boat on the river along with hundreds of other boats juggling for positions
We did also witness cremation on the river banks Many Hindus come to Varanasi to die. This was a public celebration but nevertheless felt intrusive. We were very close and witnessed the whole cremation whilst on the river wrapped in clouds of smoke and Incense . This was a once in a lifetime experience for me and certainly one that will remain with me forever.
Tuc Tuc ride down to The Ganges
Today is the start of my latest big adventure. India here I come! I’ve packed everything that is important. The most important being my sewing! Oh and my books and just a few clothes!
I’m currently on my way to Heathrow where I meet the group I’m travelling with! Just hoping that they are a good group but I’m sure they will be I am travelling with a specialist textile holiday company called http://www.Colouriciousholidays.com
I will blog all about it as it is going to be bloggylicious!
I’m attempting a little slow stitching, which in other times was called “embroidery!”
Slow stitching centres around the “make do and mend” and “waste not, want not” ethos of yesteryear. It is a nod to the generations that came before ours in which reusing and recycling were necessary and admirable.
This is not a complicated process which relies on numerous fancy, perfectly executed stitches and fastidious neatness. Rather, we embrace the timeworn nature of our materials, and the individuality of our stitching methods.
Simplicity is key.
We are passionate fabric lovers, and we have a stash of “just because” pieces we’ve found along the way to prove it. We love to hunt at flea markets, charity stores and church fetes for the cloth treasures and embellishments we will repurpose. We can lose ourselves in the online world of instagram and etsy…..oh the possibilities…
I am currently using some of my vintage stash to create a Hexi quilt, which is the ethos of the Slow stitching movement.
I recently visited Chester Cathedral with the intention of seeing a knitting exhibition. There was a display of knitted Bible stories, Hand crafted and lovely.
There was a “side” show of knitting hats and scarves for the homeless. Very admirable and kind idea.
The cathedral is a beautiful, large church, warm and cosy. What I couldn’t understand was why ?
Why Heat the lovely space to such an extent when all the visitors are warmly wrapped up in scarves and good coats?
Why have such a large attractive space open to the public when some of the public are homeless ( for whatever reason) and sleeping rough in doorways?
Why close the doors at night to keep the Church warm when some are shivering with no bed to sleep in?
I know that the homeless is a complex issue. Many people do help and do their best. Maybe I’m doing Churches in the UK a disservice . Maybe they do open their doors at night. Just maybe a little more could be done?
I must give full credit to the Chester shareshop and all their hard work for the homeless people of Chester and elsewhere. When I shop in Chester I always buy myself a coffee. It costs me only a little to buy another coffee for someone out there.
One reason that I wanted to make the Harris Tweed quilt that I mentioned in my previous post is because I want to improve my embroidery skills. My Grandmother and to a lesser extent my Mother were great needlewomen. I can embroider to a certain extent but there is always room for improvement.
I found this book in my Grandmother’s belongings many years ago. It is a small paperback book first published in 1967.The instructions are clear and simple and it’s a delight to learn from.
I also have another book, not quite so old, published in 1981. So….. back to slow stitching.
I’m nothing if not indecisive! I have thought this project through and gathered together the necessary. I’ve researched, upcycled and finally started to work on my future travel project. I don’t like it! I like the theory, I enjoyed the ideas book and I tried hard. However I don’t like it!
On review of my first hexigan ( which would be the first of many) it just doesn’t work. The beautiful Harris Tweed is too thick when folded over. It doesn’t sit well with the vintage embroidery and in short it doesn’t work! No amount of pressing will improve the look, but I haven’t abandoned it completely.
I adore the vintage embroidery which was worked by my Grandmother over fifty years ago. Don’t worry! I only cut up the cushion cover because a Grandchild tried to colour it in with a permanent Felt tip pen! So….. rethink, re trench and start again.
I did like the embroidery that I had done on the reverse of the hexigon so I intend to incorporate that into the “take two” project!
This is the second plan. I love the Harris Tweed that I’m going to use and I’m delighted to upcycle my Grandmother’s vintage embroidery.
For the last few days I’ve been busy making a cotton tunic for my forth coming Indian trip. I finished today and am pleased with the result. Well…..actually I like the tiger fabric, the pattern went together fine and it fit well. Ok I confess! I don’t like it. There’s nothing technically wrong I just wouldn’t have bought it in a shop! Which is the acid test for home dressmaking. Whilst I love the tiger fabric perhaps it’s too busy?I like the tunic pattern but it’s just not “me”. Ah well! Lesson learned and all that! I’m sure as Hell trying!