Hand-made from start to finish: crafting the Persia Blue Jasper pouffe.
Our textile designer inspects the vibrant and geometric pattern of the skirts that lie on the table beside him. “They’re vintage” – he tells us – “tribal skirts worn by the women in the mountains of Thailand.” As he speaks, he creates lines and circles, shading here and there. It’s hard to keep up with him. And then the Persia Blue pattern of our Jasper pouffe appears on the sketchpad, as if by magic.
“When the designer has finished his creation, he or she comes to me.” Mullah-Ji is an expert block carver, well respected by craftsmen all over Jaipur. Sitting at a small table, he taps away at a rosewood block, hammering his chisel into the wood, carving out the Persia Blue pattern while his tools sing a syncopated tune. “My family has been doing this for generations,” he says, looking up at us with evident pride. “As far back as four.”
The freshly carved block is delivered to the block-printing village where Harsh Kumar and his wife share a workshop that adjoins their house. Using an ancient scientific recipe, the pattern on the block is printed onto the dhurrie with adhesive clay. “This is how the pattern is created,” Harsh explains. “Where the clay is, the dye can’t reach. After dyeing, we wash the dhurrie and the clay comes away, that’s when you’ll see your pattern.”
Like the clay mixture, indigo dyeing is an ancient craft and science. Blue pigment is extracted from the natural indigo flower and then mixed in a well where the water has a higher hydrogen than oxygen content. “Less oxygen helps to make it colourfast,” Mr Rambabu, our artisan dyer explains as he dips the dhurrie into the well. The fabric appears to be green but Mr Rambabu smiles, “oxygen will fix that.” Out in the sunlight, soaking up the oxygen, the dhurrie turns blue before out eyes.
Once the clay is washed away, the bright white geometric pattern is revealed, vibrant against the indigo blue. Skilled artisans cut the dhurrie to shape and then pass the pieces to the stitching artisans who, in joining each piece together, transform it into a Jasper pouffe. “Block-printing, block-carving, indigo dyeing, even the dhurrie itself is hand-woven!” one artisan says to us, marvelling at the Jasper. “We use so many old traditions, to make something modern and new. It’s what makes it so special.”
Take a closer look at our Jasper collection