Just had 2 lovely days teaching
Yesterday i was teaching at the Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge, some talented students, good company small class and a good place to teach.
Today I have had my usual Wednesday class at my studio. I was so impressed today with all the “homework” they have done! Just another nice day – lots of fun and some lovely students. Studio looks a bit of a mess – All my things from the show at Birmingham all over the place.
Tomorrow I am going to the Bramble Patch to deliver my work for the Easter Exhibition there. I shall be there on the 11th and the morning of the 12th April doing some stitching and felting. Please call in if you are in the area!
Thursday 27th February
Kala Raksha was our first stop. This is a grassroots social enterprise; it is dedicated to the preservation of traditional arts and has a museum. It works with hundreds of villages.
We next made a couple of stops to villages. I was disappointed. They seemed only interested in selling us cheap, poor quality textiles. Why has the situation changed so much in the last 2 years? There seems to be more money to be made from tourism than stitching.
Would we want people coming into our village just to look at us?
Some of the textiles for sale in the villages were obviously ones bought in the market and probably originated from Iran, not even India, although we were assured that they had all been made in the village!
We were saddened that the newly bought textiles in the market seemed to have as much value as their pieces that had been in the family for generations.
We then went to the busy festival at Drang where there were people dancing and most were dressed in traditional costume, mainly Rabari.
Seeing all the men and women in their magnificent costumes I soon relaxed and took many photographs. We arranged to meet a previous guide at the festival and we had a good discussion with Jeetu about the situation of the textiles in the villages.
He asked me to return to the Kutch and make a video with him about the change in textiles in the villages.
Apprehensive about what the guy in the Hotel had arranged for us for our overnight stay, a remote village, we looked onto our round mud hut with 2 quilts laid out on the floor. This we beyond our expectations (although sleeping on the hard floor might not appeal to everyone).
In the dark we could hear chatter and music, all we understood was the word wedding, I understood clearly that there was to be no photographs.
The next couple of hours were magical. It was a pre wedding party for the women and children of the very small village. They were all dressed in their best clothes. In the glow of the firelight the mirrors and sequins sparkled. Food was being prepared, the young girls made the chapattis, songs were sung by the older ladies.
I hope memories of this evening stay with me forever. We felt so privileged to be able to share these special moments and it was a far cry from the busy streets of the rest of India, and the hard sell of earlier in the day.
Many more pictures to come another day