I couldn’t put any more photos on my blog as the space was full, but now we are ready to go with more stories and photos
Sunday 23rd February
On the way Abbu took us to the Sunday market, very similar to a large open-air car boot sale, there were all sorts for sale; we purchased buttons, old jewelry, beads, thread and some second hand sari silk.
At the craft fair artisans from all over the India were present. I surprised myself at how knowledgeable I have become, I have a clear understanding of what is produced where in India. There were demonstrations of embroidery, weaving, laquerwork, bell making, beading and at least 10 pavilions full of artisans. What a stoke of luck to be able to visit. We spent 8 hours at the fair.
Monday 24th February
The following morning we were picked up by our driver and taken to Pethaphur to visit a master block carver. He has been making blocks for 40 years. He makes many of the quality blocks for the Gujarati printers.
I had wanted next to go to a block printers in Ahmedabad where they use chemical dyes. Drivers always have an agenda and will always take you to where they want to go and will often take you to “better” (usually their cousins!) place. This was an experience to see how low-end poor quality printing is carried out. Random block prints were being printed on to poorly made polyester garments.
After seeing the beautifully made blocks earlier in the day this was a huge disappointment. To be fair to our driver he wasn’t impressed with this place either.
Moving on we visited Honeycomb. Approaching we wondered where we were being taken. The shop was fabulous. Quality textiles, beautifully displayed from all over India. Annie was interested in the minutely tied Bandani; I was interested in the Snake charmer quilts. Sol the owner patiently and passionately explained about them, although he knew we had no intention of buying them, as they were very expensive.
I made a mental note to carry out more research.He has been working with artisans, designing and making new textiles for sale all around the world, inspired by the traditional and original textiles. These were quality products sold in expensive shops and a pleasure to see such quality workmanship.Our final stop of the day was to meet Vandana from Gramshree. A very likeable and dynamic woman “who makes things happen”. We visited the 2 workshops
- Artisans work without design help using their often inherited skills and years of experience
- Artisans are told exactly what motif to stitch and what colour to use. The sample book had copies of all the designs and how long it should take to complete each motif.
The workshop was ordered and it made me ashamed of the chaos in my studio. We left her with a present of bags of thread and scissors. She really wants us to return to India to help, offering us food and accommodation, and the invitation to exhibit my Indian inspired quilts.
I would love to help. It has always been something that I have wanted to do. There is so much skill over there and they need our help!
We had to say goodbye to catch the sleeper bus to Bhuj arriving at 7.00am