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 […]
“It’s a bit like cooking really, you have an idea of the occasion or style you want, and the ingredients, so you see what happens!” Charlotte Lloyd, founder of vibrant textile brand, Charles of Lloyd, has an endearing approach to design. “I like my work to have a hand-drawn, natural feel to it rather than […]
“Classic, greenhouse, disco.” says textile designer Fanny Shorter when asked how she thinks people would sum up her eye-catching fabrics in three words.
“I’ve loved textiles for as long as I remember. I did an art foundation course and went on to study textile design at Central Saint Martins – it’s where I discovered that I’m a weaver. Creating woven fabrics is immensely time consuming and honestly, quite frustrating at times, but it’s hard to describe just how satisfying […]
“My favourite character on the Character Polka print is the giraffe. He’s become quite iconic; I love the way his neck pokes out playfully as if from nowhere. That’s the fun thing about this piece, you can look at it over and over and each time you’ll find a new character. I can imagine the […]
“I’ve recently become a grandmother. My son is 30 and has an adorable six-month-old daughter. I’m at work all day so his mother-in-law looks after her during the weekdays. Since I only see her on Saturdays and Sundays, I can’t help but spoil her when I do see her.”
“Over the last ten years there’s been a renaissance in the feeling for African textiles. The colours are vibrant and edgy, because we combine colours that most people wouldn’t put together. Aesthetically, they’re just wonderful. The world has become so much more diverse, and in turn, so have people’s style. People want to make room […]
“I think what I’m most known for is colour. I adore it. Once I pick a palette the colours just fall into place. I’m meant to be quite impartial as a designer, but my heart has a mind of its own; I can’t help but be drawn in by blues and teals – coastal colours.”
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.”
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.”
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.
“I’ve been here for twenty years,” Rageevan says with pride. “Coming to work here was one of the best decisions I ever made. When I came here, I met the woman I would marry.”
“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 […]
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.”
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 […]
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 […]
“No.” Ram Rich Pal Singh has an abrupt way of speaking, but it’s not without warmth. “I was in the paramilitary for 22 years,” he tells us. “After I retired, it wasn’t long before I got sick of sitting around the house. “He bangs his hand on the table for emphasis. “I think it’s better […]
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!”
“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 […]
Vijay has a big smile. He’s the workshop’s self-styled joker, the one who brightens everyone’s day. “My Guru brought me here. We came from the same neighbourhood in Uttar Pradesh. He was the one who suggested I learn upholstery and I’m so grateful that I did.”
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.