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!
Surajkund International Craft Fair reputed to be one of the largest in the World! It was huge! There was a great atmosphere with all ages visiting the annual fair. It felt completely safe with much friendly banter. We were the only white faces to be seen and obviously a spectacle of interest. We were constantly asked for permission for the locals to take selfies with us. I felt like a celebrity when even three policemen asked could they pose with me!
There was music everywhere, dance troupes at every corner and street food of every description.
I learned to barter which doesn’t sit easily with my shopping habit! I did, however buy pashminas, scarves and cushion covers!
It was the hottest day of the holiday but that added to the atmosphere of a never to be forgotten experience, in India.
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.
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.
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.
Hi lovely readers! I have talked a lot about the destinations on my recent,wonderful cruise but not about the crafts! The very reason for me being on the cruise in the first place is that I was actually teaching crafts! And what a great time we had!
One of the very popular crafts that we made was silk purses. We used silk ties to make these simple colourful make up pouches. I did start buying ties from charity shops but was not very happy. Silk ties in charity shops are quite expensive. They are often not too clean! They do not wash very well ( my Mother was right) I ended up buying lots of silk ties from China. These are sold as wedding ties and are colourful, good quality and nice to work with.
The purses are quite simple to make and the only other requirement is a zip. If you place the tie longways and use the zip as a measure, you can wind the tie round and round until the length is used. Pin and then slip stitch as you go. Slip stitch the base and insert the zip. Job done!
These are a small collection of the finished purses that were in our final Exhibition of Crafts. Didn’t we do well?
I recently went to a meeting of the Embroiders Guild. I love this meeting and find the other members inspiring and oh so creative! It is not just embroidery but all types of needle crafts. I often take my knitting but today I took the neck ties that I’ve been collecting to make a silk make up purse.
I spent time folding, re folding and pining into place until I was happy with the result. When you have worked out how it is quite easy to finally hand sew and insert a zip. I’m pleased with my first effort and will make more until I can make the silk purses with ease and neatly.
As you know my friends, I occasionally work on cruise ships teaching crafts. I am always on the look out for interesting, new crafty ideas, and as such have come up with a project using silk ties. I could use polyester but silk would be much nicer. I therefore started to search charity shops and quite frankly can’t believe the price of second hand ties! Polyester are generally around £2 but silk ones are about £4.50 Why on earth are they charging so much more for silk ties? There are dozens of them in the shops and are obviously not selling. I don’t want to pay too much as I need at least 30!
That took me to eBay where the plot thickens. I found great silk ties at a cheap rate (£1) so I decided to order three as samples to see if they will work. OK they are coming from China and won’t arrive until May! But hey! I can wait. I placed the order and then realised that they might be clip on or elasticated! I contacted seller who seemed very sweet but there was a language problem Chinese v English.
A short search later I found a private seller with one silk tie for sale. Well it was a start! A lovely silk tie in girly colours and great condition.
The tie arrived promptly this morning and it is very nice. I then turned it over and Amazingly Naked ladies! Tasteful but naked.
This is an interesting craft project indeed.
I have decided that I definitely take a scattergun approach to life!
Today I went with Darling Daughter to the Stitching Sewing and Hobbycrafts Show at Event City in Manchester. The show itself was just about OK BUT I bought ( at vast expense I might add) lots of wood carved stamps for fabric printing. Another hobby, project to learn, as if I’ve not got enough to do!
I must concentrate on one thing at a time! I really do know myself. When I studied Psychology I frequently had my personality analysed. I always turned out top score for starting projects and nil points at finishing projects. So true!
Meanwhile I am excited at starting another project.
I’ve bought the paint, pads and stamps so now I just need to source some nice silk to print. Oh and focus! One project at a time. I confess that I’ve just bought three books on various crafts. This is becoming a Splatter Gun approach.