Cross-Stitch – The inspiration for this article came from our cross-stitch expert Shobha, who joined as our first full-time cross-stitch artisan in June 2021. Shobha has been practicing this craft for the past 17 years. When she was in her twenties, she joined the training group led by father, Colombus, and has never looked back. The crafts were introduced to her village by father Colombus almost 70 years before. Father Columbus visited India through a missionary and trained women in more than 25 villages.(more…)
Afghan War Rugs: I made my first-ever Afghan friends in 2017 in India during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by India and the US Department of State. I remember my excitement to meet so many fellow women founders solving problems in their communities worldwide. However, I want to emphasize the challenges amidst which our Afgan women friends were building their companies were beyond our imagination. They were building their companies amidst the looming threat and past scars of ideological and military war.
In 2019 we did a lot of research and development in hand knitting, knotting, smocking, and bead-making techniques. We worked with a group of women artisans in the villages of Western Uttar Pradesh in India. Before making the trip to these villages and meeting these women, I was under the impression that these techniques are almost similar to each other and created similar looks. However, once we worked with these masters, we learned about the nuances of different techniques and various design possibilities associated with them. Together with the artisans, we co-created beautiful and chic panels.(more…)
Screen Printing: Past week in Delhi, we started developing a screen print on custom-made chiffon linen and satin silk created with a weaver in Varanasi. Our team learned and documented the process of screen creation, paint and print development. I found it fascinating to understand the processes and see our ideas come to life. I thought of sharing my research and information on screen printing with our readers.
History of Screen Printing
Screen printing originated in the East in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD) to transfer designs onto fabrics.
Lace Making: My fascination for handmade laces started three years back in the summers of 2018 when I searched for artisan groups in India to help us recreate old collected laces and trims from Europe. Until then, my knowledge of high-quality handmade laces possible to accomplish in India was limited only to cotton crochet work. However, to my surprise, we found groups of women based in small villages across different states of Southern India, practicing a variety of high-skilled European lace making techniques. (more…)
Block Printed Ghaggra : Due to the increased flow of trade and immigrants to the Indian subcontinent, the first stitched garment in Indian women’s sartorial elegance started appearing as early as the eleventh century, and it was the Ghaggra(a gathered skirt) & Choli( a blouse). This practical and straightforward garment was appropriate for the standards of modesty prevalent at the time. Additionally, it allowed for easy movement during any day job. Before this, the unstitched saree was ubiquitous on the Indian subcontinent. (more…)
Gota Work or Lappe Ka Kaam
This past year allowed us to work with many embroidery techniques from India, which are traditionally practised as embroideries of gold. A few days ago, when we wrote about one such Embroidery of Gold- Zardozi Embroidery, we received a great response. Therefore we feel encouraged to share more on Indian embroidery techniques from the genre of ‘gold.’ One such technique is Gota Work or Lappe Ka Kaam. (more…)
Cotton was the primary commodity of the first days of an Industrial production system that changed the world.
With the arrival of the British East India Company in India and their overlordship on the cotton manufacturing (among other things) on the Indian Subcontinent, the ever so romantic and prosperous Story of cotton and cotton farmers that I discussed in my earlier post came to an erratic end.
I will talk more about the India story at the end of this article. Let us first look at the Story of cotton in America.(more…)
Sustainable Cotton: As I turn through the pages of the book ‘A Frayed History. The Journey of Cotton in India‘. I find nuggets of great information, which I plan to compile and share succinctly in a series of articles starting with this one.
Cotton, the wonder fiber, was at the start of history, found in two parts of the world—India, and Peru, as has been inferred from the study of old inscriptions and arts. Sir George Watt, a Scottish Botanist who worked in India as a reporter on botany, has shared very early research that says cotton was considered sacred in India. In those times, the word used for cotton was ‘karpasi.’ The sacred threads of a Brahman were made of ‘karpasi’ to put on over his head in three strings. (more…)
Kashmir Image from traveltriangle.com
Embroideries of Kashmir: A couple of weeks back, I shared a breathtaking video made by the Google Arts & Culture Institute on the Sozni Embroidery from Kashmir. The video gathered a lot of love and likes on Facebook and Instagram.
The valley of Kashmir with its beautiful flora and fauna is resplendent with nature. Therefore the embroideries or textile designs from Kashmir have always been largely inspired by the floral beauty of the valley.