Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Books are fun

Praveen is off negotiating. We are trying to buy the house in front of the workshop. We have dreamed of a  library, one day a preschool/ junior school and more workshop space....we want to lease 1 year then buy next year.... now we need to save more money but it available now and is perfect for our dreams.
Fingers crossed, make a wish for us, say a little prayer or rub a rabbits foot ( preferably with rabbit attached! )
A library we have been inching towards for a long time.... given out many books and then I was sick and low for many months last year things slowed down.
We're both on top of the world again and this is knocking on our door.
Opportunity only knocks once so we are jumping.
Onto that hoping thing again.
Timing is looking good. A local woman  has been volunteering with us, helping with training and managing quality control with our women.
She grew up with libraries and it is something she misses for herself and her kids,.... she knows a number of younger families around our area who are similar, one parent from afar...
We might have a little gang of support and help to get it up and running.
I need volunteer help to cover books, keep it organized and more importantly work on ways to draw local women to be involved, books can be daunting when you have not grown up with them and or had  access to education. Local schools don't have libraries: books are only there as exercise books and not to be enjoyed... we have heaps of books already and my shelves of books at home could come in for adults who read English to get that happening too.
I have lots of craft books that gave been given to me over the years.
If women are bringing their kids perfect opportunity to use for health and women's issues info to be available.
Just trying to get a space.
Exciting to be dreaming and working on a practical manifestation of it.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday, lazy, melting....

One of those Sundays, I am melting and even though here Sunday is a day of work I feel in slug mode.
Wednesday is our Sunday but I am usually much perkier on that day....a life time of routines and programming!
Our workshop is buzzing along nicely, we have lots of work to do and are slowly but surely getting through it.
One of the weavers we work with is always asking for orders and then when we make a big one he is always distracted or having this, that or the other misadventure, slowing everything down.
Well I hesitate to mention him at the moment because he is doing very well and we are getting a steady arrival of parcels of 120 m of lovely Bihar khadi every 5 more parcel and we will have a little mountain of Bihar khadi, Rajasthani khadi from Mr Gaffar and silk cotton from Bhagalpur and be able to head up to our dye guy and make colour.
Dye guys! we have had to change, our old faithful had been driving us nuts for ages with lost fabric, sloppy work and sssslllllloooowwwwwwwwwww work. We have had lots of chats and tried to fix it but got nowhere.
New guy has done a few batches so far and seems to have a lot more to offer in variety and colours and care so we are planning to leave some extra cloth and say what else can you do? Praveen thinks the guy will be quiet exciting to work with.
Hope so.
This week has been rather exciting,
The lovely World Travel supplement In Today's Quilter put together by Jane Rae arrived- the whole booklet is inspiring, she talks of textiles around the world and what people are doing. So there are stories of travel where hands on and real people contact is the focus [smile, smile our Creative Arts Safaris comes under that mantle] and the other aspect of many of the interviews are businesses that  also have strong social commitments to the people they engage with- fair trade ideas. Businesses where informed choices are being made in production and sourcing to make sure everyone involved gets a fair go [ smile, smile again!! our The Stitching Project comes under that mantle]. Business not charity is a sustainable way to the future, training people and letting them find a chance to build their future is empowering and it is where the best and most exciting work is produced, which is what all we textile people love to see.

Rather proud to be included in this :)
And then another notice in a journal written by visitors from a few months back- lovely photos make our place look rather exotic...usually I just see the dust. It is nice to take a minute to appreciate home.
A big thanks to Poppy and Jaz.
If you are in the UK Koumis and Kettle will be having a pop-up shop with some of the haul they collected at our place.
Just getting wound up on tours work this week.
Bengal is full- very pleasing,
Still got seats left in Glorious Ghana and Rajasthan: A Tactile Textile Tour, Teacher's Tour might have a seat or 2- definitely close to being full too.
Booking bonanza starts now with emails flying off left, right and centre!

Friday, May 13, 2016


I remember the old song... beautiful woman's voice. I wonder who?
"Summertime and the living is easy....."
Not quite like that here....days are 40+ and nights around 30. Just charming.
What us good is we are home and not having to run too far for a while.
We have survived the huge wedding of Praveen's eldest.
He was run ragged but as his wife not mother of bride or anything I only had to swan around and enjoy myself.
Which I did.
Everyone's finery was amazing, and all the carrying necessary for a flashy Indian wedding unbelievable.
Never thought I would see my old man in a turban and I felt flash in a silk sari, although it took ages to get on because it was so slippery.
 Entry was via a long corridor all pink and pretty with lots of sparkly lights, in fact sparkle was the theme, sparkly lights hanging from the giant tree up one end.
Here weddings are held in open air gardens, the grounds all carpeted, a huge stage one end for the groom to sit on a throne and wait for the bride to arrive.
there is a dance floor and lots of teenage boys being silly, a huge area with all types of food set out and you wander and graze, an airy gazebo with many comfy lounges cooled by floor fans that had sprays of rose scented water being dispersed by them....lovely
 The lounge,  up on one wall was a giant screen and wandering a few photographers and video cameras....we are going to get hours and hours of film of everyone there.....ohh joy oh bliss, I will get to sit through it all at least once....haha
Finally after midnight Pretti, the bride arrived, she was escorted by many of the family under a canopy dripping with jasmine flowers....
You know how a western wedding there is a tall cake with model bride and groom on top...well Indian style there is a central stage the bride and groom mount and there the first step of the wedding ceremony starts when they exchange giant rose petal necklaces or mala.
To the sound of conch horns and bells the stage started to slowly spin, poor Pretti got quiet a shock and lucky her groom was so responsive he caught her and steadied her.
The most amazing thing was this giant leaf blower thingy that showered the whole area in rose petals.
what a fine time we all had.
I finally got to meet so many of the extended family....let me say SSSSOOOO many of the family, boy does Praveen have some relatives!!
It was lovely, my Hindi is limited but friendliness and warmth is easy to share and I was handed around everyone.
I had a truly lovely time and got dropped to my hotel at 3.00am.
Praveen and the immediate wedding group moved back to his mother's house where there we many hours with a priest and fire....poor man he was in tears by 8.00am as she finally left to her husband's house.
so that was a week or 2 ago, we are home, sweating and back in the workshop, working like crazy.
We need at least 2 more professional machinists- do you know anyone.
A woman Muna started a few days ago, I don't want to jinx is so hard to keep women machinists on staff but she does seem very professional in her ability, no training needed and I DO hope she is a keeper.
work, work, work and I want to find the time for a few new samples I am imaging...
Quilts almost ready

Stitch moment. Fantastic effect Mrs Laad's careful and even stitching creates. Surface almost shimmers. #thestitchingproject #whomadeyourclothes #fairtrade #womensworkopportunity #womenswear #scarf #wrapvest #handmadeluxury

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