Friday, June 24, 2011

Bikaner and back....

Fabulous trip, such fun to be out exploring again, we just work and are at home if we are not racing off to Delhi for work....both Praveen and I had a pretty hard and miserable life before we met, now with our happy home and working together we are very happy and know we are blessed to have the experience and opportunities, so don't feel sad for us always saying work, work, work we really enjoy it because we share it.
Life is short you don't know what is around the corner,
enjoy every minute.
An unexpected treat driving along the road, this lady had the most beautiful jewellery, bangles all the way up her arms, huge silver anklets and a torq around her neck and an embroidered skirt with shisha is so rare to see those on village ladies these days I had Praveen chasing the motor bike for quite a few kilometres to get this close with out running them down....we are on open highway dodging trucks, cars and ox carts at the time!
 We were in Bikaner to meet the gentleman I am seated next to at the bottom of the  picture Ashok, he runs and NGO to support the work of village artisans and handweavers. This is his website- I think he explains himself quite well The 2 ladies further up in the picture [and yes I am very rude, I did not write their names down and have completely forgot them]
a mother and her newly married daughter travelled from about 100km out in the desert to meet us.
They live in small villages very close to the border which made it impossible for me a foreigner to just go visit...their families originally came from Pakisthan but after the war of 1971 were all Hindu people were thrown out, for many years they lived in camps until the government could find them land [well desert] out near the border.
About 1500 ladies still embroider in the traditional manner- many have a contract with Fabindia to do work on their clothes and others work for smaller vendors, isolation and lack of education makes it hard for the women to market their work themselves, but good people like Ashok, Fabindia and others' help keep them busy and an ancient tradition alive.

The stitching was beautiful as were the ladies, we could not help admiring them and their jewelery, It was a fair exchange as they could not help peeking at our student Kylie, they were discreetly wispering among themselves wondering if she was the famous movie star who was once Miss World.

 Spinning wool to weave
 Two of the weavers Jetaram-ji [whose house we were in] and Mullaram on the left.
These guys embody generations of fine craftmanship, but with the rather poor wages they can earn as weavers Mullaram is constantly thinking of leaving the profession and not having his children take it up.
Ashok pays Fairtrade prices for what he commisssions, but unfortunatley at the moment he can not move the volume they need to sell [and could produce] to live a reasonable life- you know food, kids to shool, healthcare, perhaps a TV.....mostly they have to sell to other dealers who push the prices right down.

 Kylie our student, a great person, as I was saying on Facebook where there are many more photos by the really adds to oue status travelling with an entourage and then when you say she is our student it is like a big wow- so impressive.
 The kitchen
 samples of cotton handloom weaving from another village, fairly traded. We will be using this in one of our clients summer range.
 This scarf is beautiful can you see how fine the work is? would equal anything ytou would find in the very best shops- how do we make the links to those places so the ancient traditions and skills embodies in it have a chance to flower in the future?
I was most productive in the car on the loing drive making silk flowers for a clients wedding reception tableclothes- it is going to look like a room full of jewels.
and a wonderful dhaba we have found- the bbbeeesssstttt food. simple,spicy and delicious, nothing beats truckstops for the best food.
They made a wonderful raita so simple and delicios the perfect accompaniment to the dal and spicy veg.
Naugaur Raita
  • sizzle some cumin seed and sliced green chilli in a little oil until nice and a little sort of chared on the chilli skins
  • add a handfull of finely chopped mint
  • stir through fresh yoghurt with a pinch of salt
simple and simply wonderful!
Have a great day


Dijanne Cevaal said...

sounds like a great time was had by all!

Evelyn said...

Looking forward to seeing what the handwoven fabric becomes!