Category Archives: India

Raff Handbags

Raff Fair Trade Handbags

Raff bags

I had been looking for a small, sturdy, stylish and comfortable leather backpack for ages when I came across the Hugo backpack from Raff.   I was thrilled to discover a contemporary backpack, that can also be worn as a cross body bag, which has been handcrafted using traditional techniques.  Each bag is handmade in India according to Fair Trade principles.  We caught up with Raff’s Creative Head, Rashi Agarwal, to find out more about the brand.

 

Raff bags

How would you describe your brand?

Raff is inspired from the simplicity of minimalism. A contemporary brand but still traditional in the way that the bags are made. We focus on the details and the craftsmanship to provide great quality leather bags which are unique and stand the test of time. Raff supports Fair Trade and we pay fair wages to our craftsmen, which is an integral part of the brand.

Raff bag Maus

What inspired you to start a handcrafted leather bags company?

Leather is something that I love working with as it only gets better with age. After graduating in 2012 from London College of Fashion in Accessory design, with the extensive knowledge of leather bag making under my arsenal, I joined a leading leather handbag company in India as a Product Designer. Working there for two years gave me a good insight into how the leather handbag industry works. During this time I met my now fiance and partner Maurits. Designing and making handbags at home for myself was a hobby. A tote bag that I made (which is now called Maus, named after Maurits)(above) inspired us to develop the range and start our own leather bags company. We wanted to create something that is unique but is still practical and of top quality. We worked hard on the designs and the brand for two years before finally launching Raff in January, 2016.

Why buffalo leather?

Raff handbags are made of natural, vegetable tanned buffalo leather which is one of the strongest hides and provides durability to the bag. It is the perfect leather for hand stitching as it doesn’t stretch over-time. Also, our bags are quite unique in their shapes and it is an important design element. The buffalo leather holds the shape really well even with frequent use.
Raff bags
Raff bags
Raff bags

What makes a Raff bag unique?

Raff’s unique shapes sets it apart from other bags in the market, yet they still blend seamlessly with a modern women’s wardrobe. The handbags are completely handmade and hand stitched using a saddle stitch technique. This painstaking and traditional construction method offers unmatched strength, lasting longer than normal machine stitching. This is not commonly seen in brands at our prices, as it is very time consuming and a dying art. We wanted to bring that to our brand and hence each bag is completely handmade with no use of any machinery. Our leathers are environmentally friendly and harmless to the skin. They are made by artisans in India who are provided fair pricing and healthy living conditions.
Raff handbags
Raff handbags
Raff handbags

Where do you find your inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere. Modern art and architecture are a great source of inspiration. I look for interesting shapes that I could redesign and create into a silhouette for handbags. Raff’s current collection was inspired from a top view image of the Praxis 48 typewriter by Ettore Sottsass and Hans von Klier. I took the negative space and started sketching, which resulted in the design for Maus.

What’s next for Raff?

We are very excited to finally reach out to customers in Europe and are looking to expand our presence there. Currently I am working on designing small leather goods and a few designs for men to add to the range, which is very exciting.
Raff bags
 You can view the Raff collection here.  Raff is offering free shipping in the EU.  For those of you based in the Netherlands you can shop at nl.shopraff.com.  Customers outside the Netherlands can visit shopraff.com to place an order.

Spinach and Cumin Soup Recipe

Shreyas Recipe for Spinach and Cumin Soup

Mani, one of the five chefs at Shreyas yoga and wellbeing retreat in Nelamangala, Bangalore, showed me how to make this healthy, nourishing spinach and cumin soup. The food at the Shreyas ashram is vegetarian and is created according to yogic principles so it’s “fresh, light and nutritious”.  Ingredients are hand-picked from the retreat’s organic gardens and every meal is a culinary delight.  There’s more to follow on Shreyas in another post, for now I am sharing this delicious soup recipe, which is quick and easy to make and full of flavour, in time for the Easter break.

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 Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1/2 a red onion finely chopped
  • 1 packet of fresh, organic, spinach
  • 1.5 tblsps olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 300 ml cold water
  • 50 ml skimmed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cardamom powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

 

Method

  • Heat the olive oil in a large wok.
  • Add the cumin, garlic and onion and allow to lightly brown.
  • Add the spinach leaves and reduce.
  • Once the spinach has reduced add 300ml water (the water must be cold) and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the wok from the heat and allow to cool.
  • When the mixture is at room temperature add 50ml skimmed milk, the cardamom powder and cinnamon then blend.
  • Reheat and enjoy.

 

spinach and cumin soup Maud interiors

 

 

Maud’s Top 5 Things To Do In Jaipur

Maud’s Top 5 Things To Do In Jaipur

 

Visit Phool Mandi the wholesale flower market

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Phool Mandi Jaipur

Go early, the market opens at 06.00 and watch as local farmers carry in huge sacks bursting with roses and marigolds which are traded in front of you. Later the same day you will see garland makers all over the city stringing together and selling the flower heads, which are used as offerings to Hindu deities in daily worship in temples, in offices and the home.

Whilst you are there visit the fruit and vegetable market which is alongside.  The market is on the way to Amber Fort on the Hawa Mahal Road at Chandi Taksal Gate.  You could combine your visit with a trip to Amber Fort and the Anokhi museum (see below).

Visit the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing

Anokhi museum of hand printing jaipur

Block printing areas india Anokhi hand printing museum

block printing demonstration Anokhi maud interiors

For textile lovers this is a delightful museum situated in a beautifully restored old haveli just past Amber fort on the outskirts of the city.  Anokhi is a successful block printing business with shops all over India founded over 40 years ago to revive Rajasthan’s traditional block printing techniques (see the traditional block carving and printing centres in Rajasthan and Gujarat in the map above).  The museum is dedicated to the collection and preservation of printed textiles.  Here will you see antique to modern examples of printing techniques including block printing, dabu mud resist and ajrakh printing.  You can see a demonstration of block printing (pictured above) and have a go yourself.

Anokhi works with over 1,000 craftspeople in Jaipur and the surrounding area and is known for its ethical working practices.  A visit to the main shop selling block printed clothing and home accessories in Jaipur is a must.

Museum: Khedi Gate, Amber

Shop: 2nd Floor, KK Square, C11 Prithviraj Road C Scheme.

 

Take a guided tour of the Old City

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looking out from hawa mahal Jaipur maud interiors

Jaipur has over three million inhabitants and the traffic can be crazy: cars, bikes, rickshaws, trucks, cows, dogs, goats, pigs, and the odd camel and elephant all jostling for space to the constant sound of the car horn. The best way to orient oneself and get a clear picture of the old, walled, city is to get up early before the city wakes and take a walking tour. Square by Foot walks are led by architects and will give you a real insight into the history, architecture, culture and trade of the old city.  There are several different heritage walks and walks start at 06.30am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  Contact squarebyfoot@gmail.com for more information.

The above shots are of the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds, in the old city, which was built in 1799 by Maraja Sawai Pratap Singh to allow the ladies of the royal court to observe daily life on the street below without being seen.

 

Watch master craftman Mr Ikramuddin Mohd Sabir Neelgar and his team create leheriya (tie-dyed) fabric.

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tie dyed fabric drying Jaipur maud interiors

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tie dyed turban jaipur maud interiors

The name leheriya, comes from the Rajasthani word for wave because the final tie-dye effect is like rippled water.  Mr Ikramuddin Mohd Sabir Neelgar is a fourth generation master craftsman from one of the oldest families practising this Rajasthani dyeing technique. It’s a complex process involving rolling white cotton or silk into long strips which are tied at intervals and then dyed.  The process is repeated up to eight times with different colours. The result is stunning jewel-coloured fabric, which is used for traditional Rajasthani turbans, for saris and more recently by international fashion designers.  Fabric is available to purchase and the silk turbans make wonderful scarves.

This place is quite difficult to find and you may have to ask your driver to call for directions.  It’s on a side road not far from the Hawa Mahal.  The address is 2803 Mehro Ki Nadi, Chokdi Ramchandra Ji. Tel: (0141) 261 9848.

 

Browse the bazaars

 

rajasthani hen party Maud interiors

Spend time wandering the bazaars in the old city and get an insight into local life.  Buy fabric and sip a cup of chai with the storekeepers, see brides to be and their female relatives choosing ornate trimmings and fabric for their weddings in the local textile bazaar, just off Badi Chaupur.   Find thali dishes, flat saucepans for making chapati and spice containers, in Tripolia bazaar and stock up on ornate mojari slippers in Bapu bazaar.  The bazaars are open from around 10am until 8pm.

The photo above of ladies in embellished saris was taken at a Rajasthani hen party which I was invited to on my first visit to the city.

Where to stay? Check out my post on Hotel 47 Jobner Bagh

Places to stay: Hotel 47 Jobner Bagh Jaipur

Hotel 47 Jobner Bagh

Hotel 47 Jobner Bagh Jaipur

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Hotel 47 Jobner Bagh was my home from home in Jaipur, India, for a week earlier this year. Described as a luxury guesthouse it’s a delightful, family run, boutique hotel with 11 bedrooms a restaurant and a spa.

It’s one of the most welcoming places I have ever stayed and it really feels as if you are staying in a beautifully designed home rather than a hotel. Shiva Gupta, the owner, his daughter Megha, wife Anita and their staff are extremely hospitable and know how to make their guests feel at home.

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A place to relax hotel 47 Jobner Bagh

Hotel 47 Jobner Bagh was designed by an Italian architect and was once part of the Maharaja of Jobner’s garden.   The grounds are beautifully maintained. There are lots of places to sit and relax and everywhere you go you are surrounded by the fragrant scent of jasmine.

the roof terrace hotel 47 Jobner Bagh

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From the large roof terrace there are views to the Aravalli hills and Nahalargh fort and the Ganesh Temple. It’s a lovely place to sit at dusk, enjoy a drink and listen to the birdsong.

The food at the hotel is delicious.  Mrs Anita Gujar is responsible for the menu and dinner is typically a healthy three course vegetarian meal.  It’s authentic home cooking and is some of the best food I have tasted whilst travelling in India.

interior styling hotel 47 Jobner Bagh

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Bedroom-Hotel-47-Jobner-Bagh

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The interiors have been elegantly styled and it is the sort of place you want to move into. Bedrooms have antique tables, colonial style chairs and old doors as headboards.  Bathrooms have a Moroccan feel with tadelakt walls and floors.  The communal areas are full of large pots, candles, old photographs and lots of seating areas, which gives the hotel a very relaxed feel.

jewel coloured lights hotel 47 jobber bagh

The hotel is within easy reach of the Old City and all the major sites in Jaipur yet tucked away from the crazy Jaipur traffic so it is a great place to retreat to after a busy day sightseeing. You can find out more about the hotel here.

 

If you, like me, prefer boutique hotels to large corporate chains see my recommendations for Morocco here and Mexico here.

 

(Hotel 47 Jobner Bagh bedroom photographs taken by the hotel)

The Making of a Copper Meditation Bowl

Seventeenth century craftsmanship meets modern design

 

 

Maud-interiors-copper-meditation-bowls

Seventeenth century craftsmanship meets modern design in these copper meditation bowls or urli.  Created by Tambat coppersmiths, as part of an initiative by social enterprise Coppre, each piece is painstakingly handcrafted.  The process is seeded in Tambat tradition and utilises techniques handed down from father to son over generations.

 

There are eight stages in the creation of our best-selling copper meditation bowls, from initially cutting the copper sheeting, to moulding the shape, to the skilled art of beating, buffering and lacquering, to the end result. One of the most complex processes, requiring a high degree of skill, strength, dexterity and keen hand-eye coordination is the beating stage.  Tiny rows of uniform indentations are created using a technique, called ‘Matharkaam, which is carried out using specially profiled beating hammers.  The indentations create a reflective, mirror-like, appearance which radiates light.  You can see the processes involved below:

 

 

 

sheets-of-copper

Sheets of copper

Making a copper meditation bowl

Cutting the copper sheet

Making a copper meditation bowl

The basic shape

making a copper meditation bowl

Heating the circle

making a copper meditation bowl

And cooling it

making a copper meditation bowl

Spinning the first draw to create the bowl shape

the making of a copper meditation bowl

Annealing the copper

the making of a copper meditation bowl

The raw copper meditation bowl (urli)

Beating-the-copper-urli

Beating to create rows of tiny uniform indentations

Buffing

Buffing

Lacquering

Lacquering

the-final-urli

The final copper meditation bowl

The history of the Tambat craftsmen

The Tambat people have been handcrafting copper ware since the seventeenth century.  They originally worked for the Peshwar rulers who were based in Pune, making armour, coins and cannons but with British rule and industrialisation they were forced to turn their attention to making utensils and ceremonial objects for the public.  The community has been declining over the years as alternative metals and plastic have replaced the demand for copper goods and there are now only about 80 Tambat households remaining.

Revitalising a dying craft

Coppre, a dynamic social enterprise, which is supported by Indian NGO, INTACH, has been set up to revitalise this dying craft and improve the livelihoods of the Tambat coppersmiths by introducing modern designs and providing training and marketing.  Copper wares were once considered heirlooms in India and we think that the timeless pieces Coppre and the Tambat craftsmen have created are ones to cherish and pass on.

 

Below, you can see some of the other designs in the range, from nature-inspired seed pod and sunflower tea light holders to copper platters.  Click here to see the entire collection.

 

copper-collection-Maud-interiors

 

Photos of the Tambat craftsmen, Coppre

Phulkari Embroidery

I was looking through photos of my sourcing trip in India last year and came across these wonderful examples of phulkari embroidery, which I was lucky enough to see in a private collection in Bhuj in Gujarat.  Phulkari literally means flower work and is a style of embroidery which comes from the Punjab, and is normally applied to woven shawls and head scarves for domestic or ceremonial use..  The embroidery is done from the reverse of the fabric, known as khaddar, which is locally spun, hand woven naturally dyed cloth normally of a reddish brown colour, using a silk floss in yellow, white, pink or orange.

Phulkari’s are made for family use.   They are often started at the birth of a new baby.  After a ceremony to welcome the child the grandmother will begin to embroider a shawl, which will be used at that grandchild’s wedding.

 

 

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Phulkaris either feature geometric designs or like, the one above motifs, in this case peacocks, from everyday life.  I love the mix of colours in this example.

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When a shawl is completely covered in embroidery so that you can’t see the backing fabric, like the one above, it is known as a bagh (garden).  The geometric patterned shawls skilfully mix horizontal and vertical stitches to create a beautiful shimmery effect as you can see above.   It’s incredible to think that this entire piece has been worked from the reverse.

Two very different styles of phulkari embroidery.  Which one do you prefer?

Faye Chadburn’s Indian Travelogue

An interview with the talented muralist, painter and photographer Faye Chadburn.

I’m suffering from wanderlust at the moment and whilst researching my next trip, I stumbled across Faye Chadburn’s blog, http://fayesuzannah.blogspot.co.uk and loved her Indian sketchbook and photography.  Her sketches evoke memories of my own trips to India, the heady mix of colours, architecture, textiles, people, flora and fauna. As a talented illustrator she has captured something of the essence of the country.  Read the interview below to find out more about Faye’s work and her two month trip to India.

What took you to India?

Throughout 2012 I had been assisting a very good artist friend, Diana Milstein, to design and produce a series of screen-printed and stitched wall hangings that she had been inspired to create after a trip to India in 2011.  So all these images of India were floating around in my head  and Di is certain that is why I ended up booking a ticket.  I justified leaving my dog for two months as I was loosely involved in a project to paint a public mural in Birmingham to promote the planned Museum of World Religions.  I’m not a religious person but the idea to try and depict religion with a single image  was an exciting challenge and where better to research the imagery of religion than India.

Where did two month trip take you?

We travelled from Mumbai down to the southernmost tip of India and back up again.  It wasn’t all sightseeing but we spent time in Mumbai, Kochin, and Bangalore, in the hill tops of Ooty and the rural areas of Mysore, Bykaluppe and Hampi as well as many hours on public bus rountes that rattled up and down endless mountains and stopped in many industrial towns.

Did you have a favourite place?

The best place undoubtedly was Gokarna in Karnataka State which houses a handful of temples and receives hundreds of Hindu pilgrims on a daily basis. This location offered the perfect balance of religious imagery, which I had come to see and the peace, quiet and comfort of a shack under palm trees where I could sit and draw and collect my ideas after time in town.

 

A few of Faye’s sketches below:

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faye-suzannah-fishfaye-suzannah-elephantfaye-suzannah-sketch-book-pink-green faye-suzannah-green-and-gold

faye-suzannah-orange-and-pinkfaye-suzannah-greens-and-golds

Your sketches reveal the people, the architecture, wildlife and religious imagery.  What inspired you the most on your trip?

  • The mandala motif which is synonymous with religious artwork, particularly Hindu and Buddhist art, where it symbolises the universe.  The mandalas drawn in chalk on the dry mud on doorsteps inspired me the most, drawn quickly without much thought but with a whole lot of meaning.  They were the starting point for a lot of my sketchbook pages
  • The fruit – huge, colourful papayas and watermelons in abundance everywhere.  Totally tropical
  • The elegance of the ladies, in beautiful, clean, crisp saris with highlights of gold jewellery.

Double Dreams

Faye’s series of photographs entitled Double Dreams.  Each photograph contains two, sometimes three images. For me, they capture the visual feast that is India.  I love the collage like effect and the way the images draw you in to investigate the interplay of images.

How did you create such beautiful photographs?

I use the in-camera multiple exposure analogue method, using an old fashioned camera.  Multiple exposure means that each image contains several pictures all overlapped in a random way.  This occurs when the 35mm analogue roll film is shot right through 24 or 36 shots and then wound back to the beginning without loosing the end of the film and then starting again on top.  The camera decides where the frames start and finish. It’s not a new technique, some cameras have a multiple exposure button, which allows the photographer to shoot something and then press it to instantly be able to shoot over the top.  This is too controlled for me.  I like my camera to do the work so it is important to have a good machine.  At the moment I have a Pentax K1000 camera that I inherited from my late father.  He was a devoted Buddhist and part of my trip was also in his memory.  I am certain he would be both surprised and proud of the miles his camera has travelled with me.

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faye-suzannah-old-man-and-landscape

 

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Have you incorporated any Indian influences into your murals since you returned to the UK?

Most of my murals are commission based and people tend to have a definite idea of what they want which is an interesting challenge for me as a designer but doesn’t enable me to include my own influences as much.  I am however painting some canvases based on my India trip.  A sneak preview below of the peacock painting that Faye is currently working on.

Faye-Chadburn's-peacock-painting

 What are your dreams for the future?

I would love to paint bigger murals and in more public places here in the UK and further afield.  I’m also interested in collaborating with others.  Sadly my dog doesn’t understand the difference between Keith Haring and Maria Rivans otherwise we would be great together!

I’m also investing more in my photography and hope to get a group of other multiple exposure photographers together to exhibit in Brighton or Bristol.

To see Faye’s murals, a slide show of her sketchbook and more of her photography go to www.fayesuzannah.co.uk.

 

Jewels Of The Desert – Shisha Embroidery

A post on Shisha or Abhla bharat, the name given to the mirrorwork embroidery from Gujarat, Pakistan and Afghanistan, today.  It’s a style of indigenous embroidery which has been used for generations.  Tiny pieces of abhla, or mirrored glass, are sewn into the overall embroidery design, using a sickle stitch, creating a sparkly, jewel-like effect.  The use of these mirrors in traditional dress, wall hangings and coverlets isn’t purely a decorative device,  it has a practical purpose too.  Mirrors were used in Islamic architecture to reflect the light and in the same way mirrors on fabrics within the home are used to reflect sunlight and candlelight at night. Sheesh-Mahal

Ceiling detail from the Sheesh Mahal or Mirror Palace, Amer Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan, built in the sixteenth century

Mirrorwork-in-the-home

 

Interior of a Bhunga, a traditional mud hut, which I visited in a village near Bhuj, Gujarat.  The furniture, constructed from mud, and the storage jars are  studded with mirrors in different sizes to reflect the light.  In some Bhungas the walls are also adorned with mirrors.

 

Details from some of the vintage shisha embroidery we have in our store:

Shisha embroidery in geometric designs

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Shisha-in-rows2

Shisha embroidery in floral designs

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Check out our range of beautiful,vintage, cushions and wall art containing shisha embroidery, www.maudinteriors.com/product-category/textiles/hand-embroidered-tribal-cushions.

Jewels of the Desert – Indigenous Embroidery Styles

A snapshot of four different embroidery styles from the  region comprising the barren, desert lands of Kutch and Saurashtra in Gujarat to western Rajasthan and the Thar Parkar district of Sind in Pakistan, which has been described as the world’s richest source of indigenous embroidery.  From the bold flamboyant style of the nomadic Rabaris, to the delicate geometric patterns of the Rajput, to the intricate embroidery of the Jats, to the figurative style of the Kanbi, each tribal group passes on its own style, colours, range of stitches and motifs from generation to generation yet each piece is unique.   Each piece was painstakingly embroidered by a prospective bride for her dowry or a mother or wife for her family or her home and each piece reflects not only tribal traditions but also the individual artistic interpretation and abilities of the embroiderer.

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Detail from Nagina in the Maud collection, originally part of a Rabari saddle bag, Kutch, Gujarat

Exotic patterns from the nomadic Rabari camel breeders, cattle herders and shepherds.  Bold, vibrant, designs in pink, orange, blue and green thread featuring abstract motifs, like the stylised parrots in hot pink in the centre.

Detail-small-Rabari-bag

Detail from a Rajput chakla (a square wall hanging), Saurashtra, Gujarat

A subtle geometric style from the Rajputs a ruling cast of farmers and herders.  Their work is characterised by square and diamond patterns, open chain stitch and shisha or abla (pieces of mirrored glass).  I love the mix of colours in this piece which will be available in our store soon.

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Detail from the bodice of a Jat choli (traditional backless blouse), Kutch, Gujarat

Abstract florals and geometric patterns are characteristic of Jat embroidery, known for its intricacy and density.  The embroidery is set out in a grid like structure with rows of round or pear shaped shisha or abla (mirrored glass work) and the pattern will typically cover the fabric.

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Detail from a Kanbi chakla (wall hanging), Saurashtra, Gujarat

Figurative embroidery from the Kanbi, a farming caste.  The Kanbi is known for its wall hangings depicting images of Ganesh, the elephant- headed God, the remover of obstacles to happiness.  This piece will be available in the Maud collection soon.

We would love to hear what you think about these different styles.

Jewels of the desert – the Maud collection

There is a story behind each of the products in our launch collection so today I thought I would talk about our vintage, hand embroidered cushions and wall hangings, aptly described as “Jewels of the desert” because of the striking contrast between the vivid colours and the arid, desert region they originate from.  I came across this vibrant, intricate, embroidery two years ago whilst travelling in India and as I adore textiles and am passionate about design and colour I fell in love with them and was compelled to return to India to find out more about them.

I travelled to the dusty, barren, Kutch desert bordering Pakistan, a region where for generations embroidery has been an integral part of daily life for indigenous women.  Women were responsible for embroidering clothing for both domestic and ceremonial use.  It was customary to produce richly embellished pieces as part of a young women’s dowry and items would include clothing for the bride and groom, wedding shawls, quilt covers, wall hangings, small bags for tobacco and other products and saddle bags and other trappings for the livestock.

Traditionally girls would start embroidering items for their dowries from as young as six years old using stitches, symbols and motifs handed down from mother to daughter over generations and incorporating them into their own unique designs.  When you look at the embroidery in detail and see the complexity of the stitches you can appreciate that some of the pieces have taken months and sometimes longer to produce.

 

Saloni, fragments of ceremonial costumes

 

 

 

I was amazed by the diversity of embroidery styles and the range of colour combinations and I will talk about this in a later blog but briefly this is due to the fact that each indigenous group has its own style of embroidery, ranging from the geometric pieces of the semi nomadic camel breeding Jats, to the flamboyant open chain stitch embroidery of the nomadic Rabaris.  The embroidery serves more than a domestic purpose; it is a visual expression of cultural identity.  It is possible to determine the tribe, religion and social status of an individual from the style of embroidery a person is wearing.

Included here are two different styles of  dowry embroidery, the one above  is my favourite wall hanging, Saloni, which comprises sections of intricately embroidered ceremonial clothing using gold and silver  thread combined with pinks and blues.  The piece below, is Naguni, a piece of Rabari embroidery which was originally half of a saddle bag.

Naguni, Rabari embroiderySadly these intricate hand embroidered pieces are becoming rare.  Progress brings change and improved transportation, migration to cities for work, access to modern media combined with the introduction of synthetic fabrics like polyester and cheap ready-to-wear clothing have all contributed to the decline in traditional indigenous embroidery.  Economic hardship has forced women to work on cheap, mass produced imitations for the tourist trade for subsistence wages and some tribes, like the Rabaris, have banned dowry embroidery because the quantity of items demanded and the expense and time to produce them became too onerous on families.  Fortunately there are several NGOs working in the region trying to preserve this unique art form.