[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_1626672171131{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]A Humble Hanky -One of my earliest memories is my mother dabbing her lace-edged hanky with cologne and tucking it into her saree, along with her keys.  To the little me, this seemed the height of femininity and grace.  My mother kept her hankies, like precious keepsakes, in a box with a big bow on it.  A few years later, an aunt gifted me a set of seven, one for each day of the week, embroidered with pixies and flowers.  How delighted I was. 

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Chikankari Embroidery, A Lucknawi Tradition.

As I turned the pages of Paola Manfredi’s pioneering book on the past and present of Chikankari Embroidery, one of the most luxurious and evergreen traditional embroideries from the Indian Subcontinent,  I feel proud of the culture that has patronized the excellent details and flair for this artistry. Nonetheless, the attention to detail is so nuanced( whether it is a small-cap or a full bodice) that I believe it will be an injustice to the research and images shared in the book if one attempts to discern everything in one read.

[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_1590199058732{padding-right: 20px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_single_image image="2023" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][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_1590199066242{padding-right: 20px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Khadi or Khaddar- How is Khadi philosophy applicable today My husband and I transition our day into relaxation and nostalgia by binge watching motion series adaptation of R. K. Narayan’s book  ‘Malgudi days’ .  Short stories from a small village exuding the zeitgeist of pre-independence India- reminiscent of my grandmother’s beautiful stories. In one particular episode of Malgudi days, the whole village organizes a bonfire to burn their ‘English’ clothes.. The story belongs to a time when Indian's were encouraged to keep only ‘khadi’ or ‘khaddar’ clothes with them. It gives the audience a glimpse of the boycott movement that was adopted to fight against the imperial rule.

'Khadi’ , a  material embodiment of an ideal'

In the current situation, we are witnessing the collapse of long distant supply chains and brutal financial realities. It is time that countries adopted self reliance and economic self sufficiency that was advocated by  M.K Gandhi for India. Gandhi used humble Khadi as his weapon for inspiring a revolution.

[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"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="1933" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="1953" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][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_1589245353205{padding-right: 20px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Sustainable Cotton. In 2012, when I was doing my research on traditional wisdom of food in India. I learnt about the scholar and environmental activist Vandana Shiva. I appreciate the knowledge she shared on biodiversity conservation, organic farming, the rights of farmers, and the process of seed saving. It is a good sign that the food environmentalists have started to understand the harm the food ‘industry’ has done to the soil by replacing the traditional wisdom of nurturing and growing food on farms with the modern invention of  lab made, chemically manipulated foods and agricultural practices. The fashion industry should also adopt the concept of returning to “Earth Citizenship” and becoming a part of the Earth’s life cycles. The issue is that the fashion industry, with its long supply chains and numerous processes between idea generation and product development, lacks the time to develop an understanding of something as ancient and essential as cotton farming methods. The fashion industry generally places price above practices when it comes to most steps in the product development process.

COTTON- A CASH CROP

[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_1587107079446{border-right-width: 1px !important;padding-right: 30px !important;border-right-color: #000000 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/2" offset="vc_col-xs-6"][vc_single_image image="1723" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2" offset="vc_col-xs-6"][vc_column_text]printed-and-painted-cottons
Image Source:  Indian Textiles for the West by Rosemary Crill
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row][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_1587107094247{border-right-width: 1px !important;padding-right: 30px !important;border-right-color: #000000 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_column_text]Printed and Painted Cottons. "The world would be a drab place without India. Our blue jeans and printed T-shirts trace much of their lineage back to the ingenuity of India’s cotton printers and dyers," says Sarah Fee, Royal Ontario Museum Senior Curator of Eastern Hemisphere Fashion and Textiles.   Until 520 years ago, the  Europeans had known only linen and silk as compared to at least 5,000 years ago when Indian farmers had already started domesticating a species of tall tree cotton. And Indian weavers had already started weaving soft, washable, lightweight cotton that held colors well.

The start of Painted and Printed Cotton trade with Europe

By the time, the first European ships arrived in India in the 1500s. The Indian artisans’ had already for thousands of  years combined skills in weaving, painting, printing, dyeing, bleaching, and glazing cotton to embellish their superior fabrics for thousands of  years. Nonetheless, after the European ships returned from India with the first few samples of the lightweight, washable, gaily colored and patterned cottons, they became a fashion sensation! These cottons were a starting point for the start of the textile trade between India and West. printed-and-painted-cottons/   It is a point of wonder that ancient Indian artisans came to master and dominate the art of making colors and mordants with the use of humble natural ingredients like rusty nails, and plant parts—such as roots, seeds, and powdered leaves. The durability and vibrancy of which can be justified by looking at the thousands of years old specimens of larger than life hand painted or printed Indian cottons displayed at the best museums around the world. 

[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_1587086237872{border-right-width: 1px !important;padding-right: 30px !important;border-right-color: #000000 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_single_image image="1718" img_size="1000x800" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][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_1587086258338{border-right-width: 1px !important;padding-right: 30px !important;border-right-color: #000000 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_separator type="normal"][/vc_column][/vc_row][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_1587676433480{border-right-width: 1px !important;padding-right: 30px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;border-right-color: #000000 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Working with the Craft Communities at the Grassroots Level Marasim was founded on the principle of  “Enabling collaborations between the designers and the grassroots craft communities to utilize the traditional craft techniques as a medium of design innovation for luxury. And to help with the longevity of traditional crafts while providing for the livelihood of grassroots artisan communities’’   Over the past 6 years of our operations, the most commonly asked question to us is- What is Grassroots? Is it a place? A rural place? Or is it people? People with limited means? Or is it people with limited means living in rural places?  In this article we will explore who we call our Grassroots community and how we collaborate/work with them while taking care of their well being once they become a part of our craft supply chain. The following points describe what Grassroots means to Marasim

1)  Migration of craft workers to the cities with lucrative opportunities.

The cost of living in these cities is high. Therefore, these cities do not guarantee,  a dignified standard of living in return for artisan’s skill, hard work and sacrifices.

[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_1587020762781{border-right-width: 1px !important;padding-right: 30px !important;border-right-color: #000000 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column width="1/2" css=".vc_custom_1586996033135{padding-top: 5px !important;}" offset="vc_col-xs-6"][vc_single_image image="1259" img_size="large" add_caption="yes" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2" offset="vc_col-xs-6"][vc_column_text]TRADITIONAL HAND EMBROIDERY ARTISAN
Gulzar Ansari working at his home atelier in Delhi
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][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_1587020671675{border-right-width: 1px !important;padding-right: 30px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;border-right-color: #000000 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_separator type="normal"][vc_column_text]Hand Embroidery.  The opportunity to work with high skilled artisans has always made us appreciate the very elusive – soulful details of the journey of a design from an artwork to a ready material. The artisans are skilled in their crafts and rightly so, they are also opinionated about design. Together we share viewpoints, laughter and sometimes disagreements, all while trying to achieve the desired outcome We work with artisans out of their own creative spaces – thus with time, their workplace literally becomes our place of work too and soon every detail about them and their workplace become an everlasting memory. The way they still use their stained but gorgeous old tea pots and always sit and work by the window sill that is half covered with an old embroidered mesh. The way we make small conversations about our families, about our past, our hopes, and our future. These relationships are the foundation of Marasim. Our collected glints of pure gold. In these unprecedented times, we are opening up our box of stories with a hope that they will inspire some hopes and smiles. 

Gulzaar Anssari 

Meet Mohd. Gulzar Ansaari, 40 years old, an unsung hero of fashion.  Gulzar is based in Delhi. Having been born and brought up in Delhi, he is a true ‘Delhiite’.  He lives there with his siblings, wife and kids. They are a huge family and a very talented one too. Gulzar, along with his family members, have been practicing Aari and Zardozi embroideries at their home atelier for nearly 22 years. He vividly remembers his grandfather used to practice these embroideries and fondly shares the memories of his mother spending hours on the hand embroidery frame. In his own words, “All of us brothers and sisters, grew up playing around these frames and embroideries.”

These embroideries are in their blood.

TRADITIONAL HAND EMBROIDERY ARTISAN

How[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_1586917017097{border-right-width: 1px !important;border-bottom-width: 1px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;border-right-color: #000000 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;border-bottom-color: #000000 !important;border-bottom-style: solid !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Marking an Embroidery Pattern   Marking an Embroidery Pattern. Oftentimes, in the craft sector, the practitioners feel a sense of responsibility to pursue traditional processes to a Tee. When technology integrates into traditional handcrafts. It saves time and increases efficiency. And it is the best chance to ensure the survival of an ancient practice in a modern world.  Therefore, technology interventions combined with handcrafts can save time and increase efficiency.
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