Sunday, April 26, 2015

Watching the handloom dry. Our cloth comes from the cotton plant to the Ansari family who spin and weave it, onto us,we wash it to prepare the cloth for the next stage of its journey to you. Perhaps indigo or blockprint, stitched with love and care and out into the world. #TheStitchingProject #homespun #handweave #khadi #cotton #ethicalfashion #whomadeyourclothes

via Instagram

guess where I am?

day of rest....and I am at the workshop.
My Grandmother was a great one for sayings....not sure if it was one she used but it always comes to mind when I feel like having a whinge.
"no rest for the wicked...." I must have been very bad at some time, very bad indeed, the bugger of it is I don't remember so I don't have fond memories to saviour as I try to keep my head above water these days.
Haha, is all I can say.
Vietnam is but a fond memory,
so great to visit again and share things I love, surprises new for us all and stories of change with a group of fellow textile enthusiasts.

 Vietnam a wonderful mix of respect fro the ancestors and new all at once.
 Halong Bay, always so beautiful, cool and misty this year.
 The dear Lady we met in the back of Silk Village, proudly 81 years old, vibrant and so happy to tell stories of her youth and the working of the village and silk production, he son still operates one of the few power looms still in production there today. Fabulous to meet her. Facebook has more pictures, although there are even more on my camera! time!!
 Then back to workshop crazy, all systems go...finishing off a big order now, but more lined up....most of the staff are doing a fine job, our very expensive pattern/ cutting guy is driving me nuts. he is supposed to record data like times to make pattern , how much fabric to be used per item, estimated production time.....DETAILS to we can organize schedules, cost results....well no matter how we try to make it easy for him, help him, remind him he seems very disinclined to get on board.
As to showing new machine men what they are supposed to do, checking they have the idea forget it!! Has me a nervous wreck, so many he has cut the wrong fabric, made the wrong sizes...he is pleasant mannered, not a control freak like the guy before but is a liability and an expensive one at that.
Here at work today trialling a new far has asked the right questions, we will see the quality of his work.
would be a relief to have someone who would be prepared to do ALL od his job.

Zac is here, printing to spend me time with him getting a programme set up, looking for opportunities to promote his work...
much to do.
So to answer your questions Dawn, yes I am still around, a little update....
life is just crazy haha.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

almost a quarter...and

It feels like about 3 years of stuff pushed into this year so far.
The year started off with a bit of a health worry for me, so lots of this and that and resolutions to take it easier....trying to get that to happen
Our Creative Camp was looming and it was to be a time out for me- cook lunch for our guests each day, otherwise see how they were going on the various activities we had lined up and see where they wanted to take it themselves.
3 weeks from the Camp we get a phone call from the family in Delhi, Impetuous nephew has fallen in love and wants a love match marriage- a small scandal!! but it can be coped with as long as the marriage can be arranged fast enough before he elopes! Oh yes he is a dear bubbly boy but we all know he is head strong and impatient.
So it is all agreed- unfortunately it will happen during the camp and Praveen will have to slip away for a few days but there is nothing we can do about it.
1 week later we get a phone call from Delhi Praveen's lovely sister Krishna, the mother of the groom has dropped down dead. How heart sick that makes me.....and Praveen will have to be away longer because more help will be needed to organize things. Once the promises are made and a date set it is bad luck not to go through with a wedding and Krishna would have wanted it.
whew....and we have visitors coming.
Luckily we had made the 2 trips up to Bagru to order blocks for the group and pick them up before this and everything was in place.....
Our group arrive- lovely.
One, who had a pre-existing condition but had thought she was fit enough to travel found out her pre-existing condition did not agree, the camp started off well enough for her but ended with visits to hospital and an anxious wait at the airport to see if her airline had suitable staff to look after on the flight home. I am so thankful now she is home and making a slow recovery I am 1.00am in the morning after a very long day and 10 hr drive to Delhi, waiting anxiously outside to see if she could go or I would need to 'do' something in Delhi I burst into tears when the support staff came out and said they could look after her.
wow what an adventure.
Drama aside many things worked out well and we learnt about a few things we could do differently/ better/ change.
I had thought the Camp was a space to develop one's own ideas with the facilities we had to use. I had set up a number of activities to seed this and make sure there would be some tangible results.
Hence the starting experience with Sanju and her Sujani embroidery, embroidered shoes, the carved blocks, the visit to the indigo guy, and garments stitched by the workshop.
I had invited Dawn specifically to share her experiments with eco dye and her book binding skills. Dijanne was kind enough to show some of her quilts and talk about stitch and texture and building a piece from an idea.
Informally there was much discussion about ideas, developing them into work, moving from one idea to another, developing a body of work with an exhibition in mind....twists and turns with techniques already used, how other things could be included.
Some participants already have ideas for coming back and what they would like to follow up- more indigo, using the workshop as a base for independent projects as being away from home with a studio to work in gives time for focus and experimentation, travel to other areas of  India to see even more indigo and stitch techniques, explorations!
A criticism was that we did not formally sit down and do some of these discussions....though they did happen?
More actual demonstrations should happen? hmmm still up to people to run with it.
I do want to create a space for people to explore...follow their own initiative but can see a little formality might help some to reach that zone.
So I think next time we will start with a 'meeting' of show and tell- perhaps just a brief talk about what one has done and what one would like to achieve during the week.
Make a list for those that need it of what they want to do during the week....I will write a few 'course notes' to seed explorations perhaps that will kick start things if anyone wants to use them....this time though in most cases that happened of its own accord.
We use the train as it is the fastest and easiest way from and to Delhi, it does make a Farwell dinner a little awkward so I think I'll add an activity in Delhi to give us a night at the end to have dinner and say good bye.... a session on discoveries and perhaps where it will lead?? I know I would like to see where some of the things that were started and talked of bare fruit.
Much to learn but a good idea worth developing further.
Mr Om our shoe maker
Zav helping print mud resist for indigo dyeing
ohh indigo...watching it dry is a fine time
hand made paper for journal making
elephants for  Holi

in the market in Ajmer

slippers embroidered to one's own design

Inspired by Sujani....following anew course 
hmmmmmmm :)


Friday, March 20, 2015

Indian Inspiration Creative Camp

Into the second week of our camp.
l think the idea is working. Having Sanju here to share a little about Sujani embroidery got the ball rolling ... time to relax after travelling, ease into Indian time, look at possibilities offered by our workshop and start playing with new ideas.
The weekend in Jaipur was well received, indigo enjoyed and a new stash of handmade cotton waste paper is now being utilized.
This week many things are happening, eco dyeing on paper for book making, on cloth for stitching or clothes .
The handmade paper is proving lovely to stitch into so journal pages are evolving with stitch, block print, watercolor and lots of creativity.
Excitement as the workshop makes up a garment for each participant - most have used their indigo clothes.
Having fun.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Obsessing over books

Still trying to make headway with our library. ..
Had a bereavement in the family this week so everything is on hold....The books are in the office and staring at me.
There will be no time for quite a while t cover. Catalogue etc.etc.... I want to get them out to kids but if it is not seen as special and managed they could get the wrong impression.  Rich people with money to throw away. ..they don't have to be looked after.
It needs to be special.
Apply to join the library. Wait for your card. Get Mum or Dad in to promise books will be cared for.
I am trying to keep my face out of is much as I can at this stage 
No matter how long I live here, I am still white. Praveen and I have a car. We are seen as rich,we create fair employment for women so good hearted but maybe a little soft in the head.
The library has be be treated as a privilege to be valued.

Work is so busy, we could start a new training group of women, we have enough work...
We have a group of English women arriving soon for a few days of workshops. We've organized their trip they are in Agra today off to a gold work embroidery class today, Taj Mahal tomorrow. ...
Indian Inspiration Creative Camp starts next week, Yeh. ...
More hours in the day please!!!
Sunday.  Off for a snooze. Bliss

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Books, books

It's all about books this week.
Finally, finally l have started on the library -we have kids books in the workshop.
I've had money tagged with this specific use sitting here for ages, all in a bulging envelope waiting for this one purpose, and truthfully not a second to pour over publisher lists and see what is available.

So excited

We have a possible volunteer coming later in the year to help set up a catalogue system ... the books held protective covers now and a borrowing card in the back. . . Really l don't know how I will get that done.

My recent resolution has been to stress less and take it easier... which as you can see is really working. I can't sleep so obsessing over this at 5.00am !! Hmmm?

Back to books. There is a tutor group held next door -I reckon we can take the box in there and they can use the books for reading practice.
A small start but at least a start.

Praveen was rather distant to the whole book thing to start ... brings up his Insecurities about not going to school I guess ... he was jumping for joy with me when the parcel came and has named our Library " Books are fun '' cool hey?

Other book thing- we have been included in one of the LOVE TRAVEL guides. [ Iam writing on my phone so can't make a link -google Fiona Caulfield] l love her style and eye for interesting, authentic, cultural places and feel it a real privilege to be included.

l am off to try that new thing - chill out it is Sunday. Do you know how stressed l can feel trying to relaxed ? Something to work on there.
Happy Day to you.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Down the rabbit hole...

Not sure how this will work but here goes.
I have one of those smart phones Praveen informed me I had to have it and bought it a year or two ago ...Well I have had to admit many times it is soooo useful.
Got bank apps,email, FB etc.
The camera is better than the last fancy one we had and has resisted the local desert dust far longer than any we have had.
Blog used to be a Sunday treat. Workshop was running but I used to scive off a bit , chat,  look at Pinterest and have a bit a think about what has been happening
Last 6 months or so we have been closed Sundays...
Well now I have just got a Blogger app and using the fancy pen on my phone this is my first hand written missive.
I've popped a few pictures up too but not sure where they went.
Blocks for coming up Creative Camp. and a rose for Rose Day.
Apparently from now until Valentine's day every day is special.
Tomorrow is Propose Day bit funny in a country where the majority of marriages are arranged.
Happy weekend

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

plots, plans and clever tricks...

Probably a mis-quote but a line from one of my boy's books when they were small and when Gillian is around ideas, inspiration and new works always abound.
Such a pleasure to have her here, busily printing and trying out ideas, spinning more ideas together.
Gillian is like me an early riser, so nice to have a little chat at 6.00 am when we both start lovely Praveen does not function until a few hours after waking.
OOps something happened and I published halfway through....3 days with Gillian is way more than that!
Generous, she shared some secrets that she uses to give depth to here Ladies pictures...Derwent watercolour pencils especially for textile use.

We pack kits for Gillian- take a look on her website, she will explain it all far better than me.
Good for the gang to see what happens with all the strange odds and ends we pack and send. They were most impressed to see the books she had published and recognize some local views.
She came out with us to visit our Tawla Ladies, interesting to hear her observations later on the way we work....we are quiet exacting with quality, which is especially important in the beginning phases to impress upon Stitchers what we need to ensure all our work. We have lots of laughs through the process, keep it light but as Gillian observed it is exacting.

This simple picture speaks volumes about Gillian, she is incredibly hard working, 6 am and stuck in, all day busy experimenting in the workshop, catch every tourist opportunity and bubble of fun. Inspiring woman.
Take a look at these few snaps- my vegie guys are always quiet, polite and have the very freshest and best quality around...take a tourist along like Gillian with such interest and a cute little camera and they become movie stars posing for photos, discretely checking out the camera, impressed. You realise travel is not just about the sites, really it is about people....we may look different but friendliness and a big welcome come out the world over.
Whilst she was here, many discussions of her upcoming trip to Ghana- our friends Magie and Bob of the African Fabric Shop are there now, if you can't join us on tour to this Craft heaven, you can get a great fix from them. Stay tuned for her pictures next month.....oooohhh wish we were going too! Here are lots of pictures from our trips and other images to whet your appetite. Most of Africa would be wonderful to explore but for a tour we must be practical- look at stability, are there health concerns, infrastructure....Ghana comes up trumps on all these fronts, unlike many African countries unfortunately and has a very active craft scene. Must find time to go again soon. Do email us if you wish to be in the loop
and, and
Bucharest to Budapest - a new tour, we have all the info in place, lots of contacts etc we just need to do a walk through and check all details. Gillian got us enthused on this one and we are going to meet up July 2016 for a wander. It will be on the Agenda 2017. Yippee.
Really this is just a fraction of all we talked about, new plans for the future, new kits Gillian will have available, playing indigo and resist prints, just a lovely time having her buzz through our lives