Tuesday, April 26, 2016

thinking, thinking....

I was a bit of a blur the other day when I got to Jaipur for the talk at Anantaya,
After my presentation there was some discussions, mostly in Hindi so I had to concentrate very hard to get the idea. Ayush Kasliwal - designer extraordinaire at Anan Taya [take a look- swoon- love the videos]
What I got has been running around in my head... mainly because I have been mulling over what we do in our workshop, what is our game plan....
Navel gazing, but it is important to pick out the lint sometimes!

The whole event at Anantaya was for Earth Week, so lots of workshops, talks and goods for sale from various companies that are trying to do the right thing for Mother Earth from various directions.
Sustainable production practices, healthy food, re-cycling, composting, make rather than just consume....

Sustainable also needs to look at getting everyone a fair bite of the apple....not right 20% of the population can afford organic, special this and that and others can't afford to eat... this is not just an India problem, this has to spread across the world, all countries have hidden groups of those that don't have enough.

He was talking about consuming and choosing less of good quality rather than lots of disposable rubbish.
Looking at the way the many groups represented at the event work, they produce good quality, lasting quality not stuff that is meant to fall apart next week.
This article I recently read plays into thoughts running around my mind.
We deal directly with a number of weavers, we are quite conscious to try and keep our work up to them, we have spent a lot of time working out the relationship and quality, they rely on dealing with us as we prepay for materials and so they don't need to go into debt to produce work. This is a hidden factor that puts so many weavers at a disadvantage, leaving them in debt and locked to the debtor to be paid whatever price he sets.
We let them set the price- don't worry we nudge if we think they are going crazy, it was necessary at first and we pre-pay to help them get ahead a little. Works well.

So back to Ayush he was saying truly sustainable production does need to come from the hand, inputs are so much less, quality can be focussed on, design should be for the long run not just a passing fantasy....

We choose to use khadi, Handspun, direct from the cotton plant, hand woven cloth most of the time, so little input into this fabric, few chemicals needed [in an ideal world we would use organic cotton but supplying that to out little family based looms is beyond us at this point]
We use natural dyes- indigo, kashish, iron black and red and block print- all use fairly low amounts of water in production compared to screen printing or big textile dyeing mills.
We hand stitch as much of our product as we can....adds mega beauty, is greener, no electricity and it produces work for women in an area where that is a rare commodity.

Talks like the one at Anantaya and conversations we had at the Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai make me realise we have accumulated a wealth of experience training a largely in-experienced and education deprived group of women and also developing a team feeling amongst them.
rather a satisfying achievement.

My musing for today.... there is much we have been recognizing in how we work,

Excitement for today- we [as Creative Arts Safaris have been interviewed and are now in print in this Travel supplement in the Today's Quilter


Sunday, April 24, 2016

home at last

Our busy, busy spell ...well 6 months of being manic is just about at an end.
Summer is here [ only 37 degrees C today...or 106 F if you want to sound scary] so not toooooo bad yet. we are kind of home bodies until August or September....seems a luxury to think of it.
Just did a visit to Oz, it was supposed to be relaxing, chill out time but I have come back feeling exhausted and feeling like I was running the whole time.
I certainly packed things into it.

Zac helped me at Context Art in the Blue Mountains, it was great to meet up with lots of old friends and time to sit and stitch with him....we are working on an exhibition for next year. Off the Wall is the working title, it is evolving to be a collaboration and kind of extension of the influences we have on each other....
His interest in graffiti got me looking and photographing it all over the world, loving the textures and patina as it ages and more is added on....sort of a metaphor for life....we are working in a similar manner....he starts something I nudge, I have an idea he edits.....looking interesting, much to do and rather exciting to see where it leads us.
Visited my baby's farm, such a beautiful location. he is madly working to fix fences and clearing ground to start a home on it. Happy boy.
 Spent time with my biggest boy and his little family, our grandson is at that smiling wriggling stage, such a bundle of fun.

and we had a week at the beach house we all love, it was relaxing, I slept a lot and just sat and looked at the view, as well as stitching and planning, theoretically I should be all rested and feeling fit as a fiddle but really I think I need 6 months slobbing to catch up on sleep. Oh well nice dream :)
It was lovely to be there...
and then a marathon homewards trip. 4 hours drive to get to airport, 18 hours in transit on planes and the 5 hours driving to arrive in Jaipur at 4.59pm! due to give a talk at Maahi Roj at 5.00pm.
Talk about cutting it fine.
It was a really stimulating evening with the discussions that arose about making, social enterprise rather than charity, sustainable practices and value for work, made by hand rather than cheap, mass produced and throw away.
Making and makers are important.
Glad to be able to make things everyday.
There is our gear in the beautiful AnanTaya shop,

Getting ready to start....
I am pleased we are a business with a strong social agenda, there are women and men we have trained do a good job with care and they earn every penny they are paid and are proud of their results.
It makes me happy to be part of this.