[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1638937954485{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Gandhi and Sustainability - Nonviolence, Khadi, Soil and SarvodayaGandhi and Sustainability: This November, I had the honor of attending guest lectures by Mr. Satish Kumar, an Indian British Activist, and Speaker. These classes were a part of my course ' Gandhi, Globalization and Earth Democracy' that I am pursuing at the Earth University, founded by another inspiring activist Dr. Vandana Shiva Read more articles on Earth Democracy SERIES.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1635479625991{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Victorian textiles: Growing up in a family that makes a ceremony of brewing the perfect cup of tea, I've seen tea cosies all my life.  Those little jackets for the teapot that keep the tea warm while it is steeping. The other day I posted my Queen Elizabeth 1 tea cosy on social media and was surprised to see the reactions.  Many were amused. But most said they didn't know what a tea cosy was!

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1634756508566{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Earth Democracy: This month, I found my life coming a full circle after I took a little break from the day-to-day research work of our textile craft company Marasim. I invested my time into studying a course 'Return to Earth: A-Z of biodiversity, agroecology, and regenerative organic systems' with the Earth University by Navdanya foundation under the tutelage of Dr. Vandana Shiva ( A global impact leader on Climate Change, farmers rights, organic farming, biopiracy and a lot more.) 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1632712575777{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Environmental Impact of Natural and Synthetic Dyes: Imagine a world where everything we wear or surround ourselves with is grey or white.  Colour has been essential to the history of civilization, signaling prestige, hierarchy, and leadership from the Stone Age onwards.  But we pay a heavy price for color in cosmetics, paper, food, and pharmaceuticals.  And particularly in textiles- something we forget or choose to ignore when browsing at stores for the latest color stories.  

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1632013352071{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/2" offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Embroidery As Art: Last week, I attended Shobha Broota's new show, where she used techniques like crochet and knitting to create unique art. This is, fortunately, a growing trend, but embroidery as art is still a problem area, being associated as it is with women's work, one that is coming into its own, though.  To take an educated look at the history, we will have to go back to the genesis of needlework. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1631589941015{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/3" css=".vc_custom_1631800168153{padding-right: 15px !important;}" offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_single_image image="4741" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3" offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]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.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1631039496195{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]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. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1630383671449{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Crochet: My grandmother had a straw box that contained mostly white hanks of thread and red beads. She would take this box out when she wasn't busy, and magically little doilies with a bead edging would emerge from her fingers. These doilies were used to cover jugs of water and glasses.  I didn't know it then, but she was crocheting these. Her creations are lost now, but I saw similar ones in a tiny shop in the mountains and immediately bought a few. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1629779248934{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/2" offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Threads of Life, We've all grown up thinking of sewing and embroidery as women's work: another unpaid and thankless chore.  Darning socks, sewing on buttons, embroidering a child's dress with a  motif.  But occasionally, we read something that gives us pause and allows us to look at our preconceived notions afresh.  I was lucky to spot Threads of Life: A history of the world through the Eye of a Needle at my local bookstore.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1629267426196{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text] [caption id="attachment_4617" align="alignleft" width="304"]Ainu, a Japanese Community that Reveres Textiles The Ainu. Picture from Thummanit Phuvasatien .[/caption] Ainu: We who love textiles know what it is to revere an exceptional piece of weaving or embroidery.  But there is a community where this is literally practiced. And that is by the Ainu. 

History of Ainu

The Ainu have lived on the island of Hokkaido for millennia, populating a culture distinct from the Japanese. Following a Hunter-gatherer lifestyle, they, like most communities that live off the land, revered all things natural. This reverence interestingly extended to tools and clothes, the minutiae of daily life.  One fascinating aspect of their culture is the reverence of bears, which are seen as gods.  The Ainu would often collect bear cubs and bring them up in their homes, exactly as they brought up children.  Eventually, these bears were sacrificed in a ritualistic ceremony,  with their flesh and fur highly valued as divine. 
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