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


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