Scrap booking is not a craft that I normally indulge in, but my recent Indian adventure inspired me to make a record of it. I had printed off a selection of my many photographs, bought some glue and off I went. I had purchased a beautiful note book whilst in India which is what I have used.
I collected waste silk from the dying process, ephemera from the hotels and Textile workshops and of course, photographs. All these have been added to the scrap book. I’m not quite finished because there has been much more work than I anticipated. Hubs is keen to reclaim the dining room table so complete I will. May be I could do another one on crafts??
There is a dining room table under here somewhere!
Whilst my trip to India was a wonderful adventure, I was extremely disappointed to find on arrival in Delhi that the block printing section had been removed from the itinerary ( as were most other people on the tour) The travel company “Colouriscious” had removed that leg of the holiday and no one realised until we arrived in Delhi. The remaining elements of the adventure however, were amazingly good.
We did see a small example of block printing when attending other workshops.
Used blocks covered in Indigo paint.
Cloth printed and partially embroidered. This fabric is destined to become a sari. When the embroidery is complete it will be washed in the river ( Which didn’t look too clean!) and dried in the sun. The washing removes the indigo print and leaves the white embroidery. It will become a beautiful, very white sari.
Bear with me! Only one more Textile Adventure blog to go!
There was men weaving on “pit looms” the most exquisite silk saris. Their sons would often sit with them to learn the trade. The homes where this takes place, were frequently poorly lit. Interestingly they were also listening to cricket on the radio ( and India was winning!)This lady attempted to show us how to work Chiken stitch a traditional shadow stitch often worked on saris and pashminas. I tried hard but failed miserably!Market stalls were piled high with traditional textiles in eye popping colours.
Traditional crafts were apparent in the maintenance of buildings, contrasting with the poverty on the roadsides and city streets.
on my recent “Textile Treasure Hunt” to India I saw many people working long hours in often, difficult conditions. They were invariably pleasant, smiley and happy.
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.
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.
I couldn’t make my mind up which of these two books is my favourite. The book “A Trip around the Wool” is a great book and up there among my current favourites. It’s a bi lingual book in both French and English and beautifully illustrated. I’m just starting a project titled “52 Happy Memories of 2007”. The aim is to create an embroidered hexagon each week culminating in a 52 hexi quilt. I’m already falling behind so nothing new there.
The second book “Stitched Memories” by Tilly Rose is a glorious book sub titled “Telling a story through cloth and thread” which sits well alongside the other book. I’m using old embroideries and Harris Tweed to create my memory quilt. But lots more about that as it starts to come together.