Monday, 15 February 2016

Colour studies - part 1

Markets the world over are a rich inspiration for colour...enjoy our walk around the one in Mysore:

Pretty as a picture?

So many inspirational sight to record, a camera is an ideal design tool for the busy artist.  Many cameras these days can be wifid to tablet computers for blogging on the go...which is the way we are doing it!  So here is a quick round up of some of my favourite scenes.

Misty early morning start and

the promise of a good day.

Vibrant flora.

Cheeky fauna!

Eucalyptus forests and

magnificent bamboo.

Tea plantations,

Colourful Trans India truck art and 

Fallen leaves.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Stitching Project

Despite my grumbling about Pushkar we had come here for a very specific reason and that was to track down Fiona and Praveen of The Stitching Project.  We first heard of the project from our friend and fellow quilter, Gillian Travis and she had suggested we add a visit to out itinerary.   If Gillian tells you to do something then it will be for a very good reason.  Our day prove that she was right; we had a fantastic time and hope that we too have made new friends.

So, The Stitching Project:

Now we had an address off their web site, but funnily enough Google maps is a bit hazy on the road and traffic directions for this part of the world...thank goodness for Shyam.  

We drove out of town, past wedding celebrations ( this could very well be day three of the one which we could hear for the last two nights)

Past the sacred cow grass sellers, 

and past nomad encampments with piles of pots for sale.

Then we got lost, surrounded by a herd (flock?) of goats

However Shyam jumped out at the crossroads and chatted with the locals, one jumped in the passenger seat and we were off again.  Who could have guessed our destination was down here?

But it was and here we are: The Stitching Project,

Here's  Fiona talking through the technique and thread choices with a colleague who has not long joined the Project.  She's stitching a coverlet using the new range of spotty khadi cloth.  

Khadi is homespun cloth which Fiona buys from hand weavers in local villages.

Fiona and Praven were welcoming and generous with there time, 

allowing us almost a free run of the place for several hours. Upstairs we had a serious case of workrooms envy, again.

There were more blocks, many hand carved to Fiona's hand drawn designs.

I just love these makers' marks daubed on the workroom walls,

and outside on the balcony, where all the freshly washed cloth is drying ready for printing, they have been busy too!

InStitches could just do with a work area like The Stitching Project's!

Also upstairs is the sample and trade show room: we were like two little kids in the dressing up box, pulling garments out, trying them on, oohing and aaahing!

Even the plain metal coat hangers have receive The Stitching Project treatment wrapped in strips of sari silk they are transformed.

Downstairs is the machine room, today the guys are busy edging the armholes of the scarf shawls with strips of sari ribbon.  All the machine workers are men because they tend to be more accurate than the ladies.  Besides which the ladies do all their sewing at home once the daily chores are out of the way. So these garments will have been kantha stitched in the village before being returned to the workshop for finishing.

Pattern blocks hand from the walls waiting for use, bags of sari fabrics ready to be turned into scarves, shawls etc and outside, at the huge pressing table, all the washed khadi cloth is being ironed prior to printing.

See that little notice behind them?

now you too know which side to make the button hole and sew on the button!

The blackboard gives the daily schedule, long lengths of fabric dry in the sun and on Dolly is a new sample, made from mud printed cloth ( and now nestled in my suitcase....)

The top Terry bought still needed buttons, 

so whilst they were sewn on we went to watch the roti begin made for lunch.

We had been invited to join the team for the communal lunch, Fiona, Praveen and the men sat on rugs in the courtyard whilst the women sat upstairs - and able to remove their veils.

Tiffin is brought from home and opened to share with the freshly cooked vegetable curry and soft roti.  Boy, they were the best.  Now, can I fit a roti pan and roller into my bag too???

The Stitching Project is rightly produce of its workers and each item, household or garment, acknowledges their work.  They have also been awarded a Craftmark for their kantha work.
Want to see some items for sale?  You don't have to travel all the way to India ( although without a doubt you'd be made most welcome)  but just go to their Etsey shop: 

Set into a nook I spotted this old iron

And on the back of Praveen's bike he has personalised his number plate!

All too soon it was time to go, so we bid everyone farewell, left invitations to visit us and we on our way.  Thank you Fiona, Praveen and all the staff for make us feel so welcome.  It was a privilege to have been able to visit you and see your work.

Want to know more about The Stitching Project?  Then hop along to their web site:

And if you order something it will be packed up right here...