The artisan weavers chat quietly to each other as they sit in pairs. They work in tandem, the Golden Chevron pattern of our Lombard rug creeping steadily up the loom. A craft and a complicated science, people have been weaving for thousands of years. Ambrish Bharti, one of our leading loom artisans, tries to explain […]
Preman looks us straight in the eye and says, “my wife’s colourful saris. She’s so vibrant.” He continues to talk about his wife; we don’t even need to ask questions. You can’t help but feel moved by such a display of unabashed affection.
Ambrish possesses a wisdom and assertiveness that leaves you feeling as though you’re in the presence of someone much older. “Like a cook finds satisfaction in the obvious enjoyment of his guests,” he says, “I’m satisfied when others appreciate my creation.”
Manoj has a playful, almost flirtatious demeanour, like the world is his oyster and he’s ready to take it all. “I’m from a village called Basari and I travel into Jaipur for work every day. I like it better here. It’s a city; the culture is better and the opportunities are endless.”
Satyanarayan’s work colleagues laugh and start to tease him. We ask him what’s going on and he smiles. “Throughout the day, my wife and I send photos of ourselves to each other.” You send each other selfies? “Yes.” He laughs. “People joke about it, but seeing each other makes us smile. I think it’s nice.”
Girdhari is a lovely, personable man, and a natural with the camera. “I’m a photographer”, realising why he’s so comfortable being photographed, we all start to laugh. “I’m a wedding photographer on the side. Weddings are filled with such a sense of promise. I love to capture that.”
As we turn off the main road, the harsh hubbub of the traffic is replaced by the sing-song sound of hammer and chisel in a street lined with cosy little block-carving workshops. We make a beeline for the one run by Mullah-Ji, a fourth generation master block-carver known throughout Jaipur for his work. Surrounded by […]
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 […]
Gyani is cheerful, smiling, laughing, and waggling her head in the customary Indian way to indicate that everything is okay. “I think about my children,” she says. “I wonder how they’re doing at school and if they’ll be successful.” She smiles at us, eyes wide. “Just like all mothers!”
Inside the 4X4 everyone grows quiet as we emerge from the energetic city, into the countryside, journeying to one of our craft villages. The scenery, with its fields and mountains, sparse and empty, has lulled us into tranquillity. The lilting sound of Hindi music playing quietly on the car stereo is our soundtrack as we […]
Miss Arti is deceptively strong and endearingly shy. She carries a load of wet, freshly dyed wool with ease, but answers our questions in small squeaks. “My family say I’m a good cook,” she tells us, smiling and then looking at the ground. “I have two brothers and they both love my food.”
“Teasing him!” Hemlata bursts out, gesturing to her husband Harsh. Husband and wife are both block printers working together in a small workshop adjoining their home. “I tease him about losing his hair and getting old,” she says laughing, while her husband smiles and shakes his head.
The quest to find the right colour can be an arduous one. After a lengthy search for the perfect pantone, Gessica, our buyer, finally found the one she was looking for. Golden – it’s a colour that we hold dear. Expertly, our colour master mixed a selection of pigments from his collection of eco-friendly dyes, […]
Harsh Kumar is warm and humble, with an unmissable twinkle in his eye. “This is a form of Namaste,” he explains. “This particular position shows direction towards God. I’m asking for protection, to be watched over,” he smiles, somewhat shy. “So that I don’t make a mistake.”
In the Blow Room the doors to the outside are open, revealing the intense greenery of tropical southern India. The thick heat wafts into the room, enveloping us in an instant. Women flock to the open bundles of compressed cotton. They start to prepare it, getting it ready for the machine that will move slowly […]
Ratiram, tall and fair, may be in physical opposition to his fellow screen-printing partner, Sahadeo, but they’re equally matched in sense of humour. “We’re like brothers,” he tells us, and then frowns in mock seriousness. “I’m the boss though.”
Mullah Anwar Hussain is known to the people of Jaipur as Mullah-Ji; the ‘Ji’ part is an honour granted to him; it’s a mark of respect. “I come from a long line of block carvers,” he tells us. “Four generations that I know of… I am known for my work.”
Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue – all over the world cultures perform a variety of ceremonial weddings. In India, one such tradition is the giving of a hand-woven rug as part of a woman’s dowry, or simply as a gift from the bride’s family.
Ranveer doesn’t answer straight away, compelled to finish the seam on the Jasper pouffe before we chat. “Sorry,” he says when he’s done, “the only annoying part is having to unpick the yarn if you make a mistake.” Waving his hand flippantly he adds, “But that never happens to me.”
It’s quiet in the screen-printing workshop. The only sound is the gentle purr of ceiling fans and the gentle patter of voices as Ratiram and Sahadeo screen print the Zebra Diamond pattern from our Jasper pouffe onto metre upon metre of plain white cotton dhurrie.
The rug workshop is a treasure trove of patterns and colours. Recently designed, woven textiles are piled high all around us. Our artisan rug designer kneels on something special – a traditional Indian bridal rug that’s around 50 years old. Studying the bold black and white pattern, he makes rough sketches in his notebook – […]
Mohd sits on the edge of what’s called a pit loom, a large hole dug out of the ground, the loom placed over the top, his feet operating the pedals below. “A friend invited me to Panipat, the place where dhurries originate, so that I could learn to weave them. My skill is a ‘boon’ […]
With this, Kaushal’s eyes light up. “My children. I don’t see them often, but when I do I couldn’t be happier. They always run up and hug me at the front door”. For a moment he pauses and then grins at the floor. “And my wife. I love my wife’s smile”.
Ganesh is endearingly shy when we interview him. He sits with his legs close together, his hands in his lap and one foot tapping nervously. “I don’t speak very much,” he says. His eyes speak for him. He’s gentle, wise, conscientious.