Someone just asked how I cam to be in India....bit of a soapy when you write all down quick.
Sure in point form
· 2003 single mother and Waldorf Steiner teacher, with MA[Visual Arts- Textiles] realising kids growing up and I needed to get a life
· Spur of the moment got a passport, ticket and went to India all within the time it took to get the passport
· This, that and the other I met Praveen
· Circled around for years meeting whenever we could, started creative Arts Safaris- specialty tours focusing on textiles, arts and crafts
· 2008 kids flown the nest we decided we would live in India together.
· Did not want to live in Delhi where he comes from wanted to live rural [much laughter and confusion here as people leave the village for the big smoke not go the other way]
· Rural Rajasthan was where we were headed and this is where we are
· 2009 We operated a tour business by now, rented a hotel to operate and to keep me busy I started trying to teach local women to stitch for income generation….needed a translator so Praveen was roped in.
· Didn’t go so well so we had to be more hands on……long story we no longer have hotels we stitch all the time…somewhere in there The Stitching Project started to evolve
· We are mad about work that employs local people, work of the hand, travel extensively to meet the people we buy handweaves off
· We are 3 years completely registered as a business [12 June] + 2 years working out how to do that in India, have Craftmark certification for our Kantha stitch/ quilting work. Now 3 years registered we can apply to join Fairtrade India and it is on the ‘to do’ list.
Lots of pictures on our Blog http://ofdaydreamsandmemories.blogspot.in/
· I have an extensive textiles background, Praveen is a new addict, dragged into it to help me he discovered he has a good idea for the work, love blockprinting and it fills his heart with pleasure at the social impact fairly paid work can achieve.
Working in India is not always easy for either of us but we love our life, our worksop and our home here, and continue to work hard to create work we love and employment for those around us.
I think that is the quick version J
Bit soppy but we are lucky it is a true story….amazing things can happen some days
Fiona and Praveen ,
haha.... as a couple over time we have become incredibly happy together....we have been in love 11 years but time and listening and making conscious changes for our health individually hence then as a couple has chipped away at all the things that used to make us miserable and grumpy. so now we are happy as well.
still firey but much more constructively so.
That is Ranjit halfway up the ladder hoiking sand up to make the render for the roof- he is calling out to Sohan to STOP jokes- if he laughs he might fall off the ladder. See we have safety standards here in India.
Whilst this has been happening outside the workshop, inside has been a bit different. Same them freshening things up but quite a different angle needed.
whilst I was away a few things have become obvious....
A lot of the problems have arisen from Praveen and I being a bit too friendly and easy going. we work with smart people, and they are skilled we are happy to have them on our team....problem being 2 key ones think they are indispensable and becoming more princess like as time goes by.
Only people indispensable in this organization are Praveen and I - we are the reason the others have jobs....simple as that.... we have pointed that out rather clearly.
So workshop manager has been given a BIG wake up....
Years ago when we realised with our ladies keeping note in our register and the rule 3 strikes and you are out...all things run smoothly and become fun.
As the boss we need to be the boss and sometimes be very bossy....no matter how much you encourage and expect responsible behaviour it won't necessarily happen...egos sometimes become rampant.
Not sure what is happening with my office guy.....he has not had enough time to being doing paperwork properly but when I checked his computer he had plenty of time to be visiting lots of places on the internet that have NOTHING to do with work. He is on notice - get it sorted and quick or go somewhere else.
What a week! this is all whilst intense building is happening....thank goodness for our 2 lads helping there.
Look at the workmanship in this.
This is why we keep at it....local people, local skills, amazing opportunity for us to be immersed in a creative life that has social impact.
Look at the blocks Fiona -don't think of using one of them to scone someone!!
Intense week but really we are making good headway....I am advertising for another office staff I can always find 2 if I need to.....and whilst Pau-ji is very skilled and can be a great help; if necessary and we create the space and the Universe will supply someone even better.
Everyone knowing that seems to help put everyone in a better space to focus on what is important.