#soft furnishings

3 years ago · 7 min read
Under the spotlight: the art of weaving.

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 […]

3 years ago · 7 min read
Fanny Shorter – designer.

“Classic, greenhouse, disco.” says textile designer Fanny Shorter when asked how she thinks people would sum up her eye-catching fabrics in three words.

4 years ago · 7 min read
Banke Kuku, designer.

“My designs tell stories about west Africa. When people are attracted to a piece, they’ll ask what inspired it. Beauty draws people in. It gives me the opportunity to discuss native parables and current issues on the continent. I always hope that when people hear them, they’ll want to help in the way I do.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Bertil, 30 – designer.

“I came to Vietnam looking for an adventure. I never expected to stay long – I told my dad I’d be here for three months. That was 12 years ago.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Mimi, 25, account manager and inspiration for the Mimi collection.

Mimi has been living in Saigon for three years. She moved over from Denmark after university. “My connection to Denmark is much stronger than to Vietnam; although both my parents are Vietnamese. My father fled to Denmark during the Vietnamese war. He met my mother there. She’d run from the war too.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Are you more of a modern or traditional man?

Mr Rambabu wears a look of intense concentration as he mixes natural indigo dye in a deep stone well. “Traditional. Definitely traditional,” he says, chuckling. “Technology can be too consuming. With mobile phones you’re expected to drop everything to answer. Sometimes I find it a bit too much.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
What do you enjoy the most about your job?

Sukesh, shrugs, smiles, and looks around the workshop; the freshly dyed yarn hangs bright against its white walls. “I love colour,” he says, a simple yet honest answer. “This is my favourite colour,” he tells us, patting the traditional South Indian sarong he wears. “Orange.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
What makes you smile?

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.

4 years ago · 7 min read
You live so close to the beach; do you go there often?

“Not as often as I would like,” Sajna tells us as we walk from her living room into the neighbouring textile workshop she runs with her husband. It’s where our Duck Egg Blue cotton fabric is made. “You’d be surprised. Not many people around here do. I’m one of the few people I know who […]

4 years ago · 7 min read
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

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.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Where do you call home?

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.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
What entertains you during your workday?

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.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Do you have a hobby?

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.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Under the spotlight: the ancient art of indigo dyeing.

An ancient art form, an old science, using natural indigo pigments to dye fabrics has been practised in many countries, for thousands of years. Out of all of them, India stands as the oldest centre for the craft, with knowledge of their expertise known to even the ancient Egyptians. So when it came to the […]

4 years ago · 7 min read
Under the spotlight: the art of block-printing.

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 […]

4 years ago · 7 min read
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 […]

4 years ago · 7 min read
What do you think about while you work?

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!”

4 years ago · 7 min read
What’s been the best day of your life so far?

“My wedding day,” Sorabh says without even pausing to think about it. “Have you ever been to an Indian wedding?” he asks us. Sadly, we shake our heads. “It’s so much fun. So much music and dancing, and the groom rides in on a horse!” A horse? “Yes. When I was on that horse, it […]

4 years ago · 7 min read
Tell us about yourself.

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.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
What brightens up your day?

“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.

4 years ago · 7 min read
Hand-crafted from start to finish – crafting the Lombard rug.

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, […]

4 years ago · 7 min read
Why do you bow before you start work?

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.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
What’s it like to work together every day?

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.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Tell us about your craft.

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.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Weaving a tradition – the Indian bridal rug.

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.

4 years ago · 7 min read
Does anything about your job annoy you?

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.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Under the spotlight: screen-printing

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.

4 years ago · 7 min read
How did you learn your skill?

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’ […]