I got back from India just over a month ago, and it was an experience I would have never predicted. We flew into Delhi on a Friday afternoon arriving on Saturday night. Luckily for me, our trip was the month of February. This means, the weather was warm but not extremely hot and sweaty (less flies), and it was wedding season! We drove to Panipat and spent the first three days working in the small city on pillows and small rugs for market.
Our trip was jam packed full of vendor and factory visits. I was having the time of my life not only as an artist gaining inspiration, but more specifically a fiber lady and enthusiastic weaver! My boss and coworker knew all about my passion and shared the info with everyone we met. That came with perks because some of our vendors had extra yarn laying around. By the end of our time with them, yarn wound up in the trunk of our car! Weaving supplies GALORE! Day four we flew from Delhi to Varinassi and started our fifth day in Badohi. Speaking of weaving supplies, Badohi was full of them! Store fronts had skeins lining the entrance and some piled out the door!
Here is some yarn porn for those of you who fancy fibers as much as me….
Heaven, am I right?
I always felt extremely lucky to have gone to art school and study as well as practice the many different areas of art history. I also felt off, for many reasons, quite a few times throughout my time in school. We moved quick. One day we would be felting, the next day we would be batiking, a week later solution dyeing, or elbows deep in an indigo vat. So many processes so little time. As I took the history of textiles and many other courses studying where these processes came from, what people used to do to obtain color, and how textiles traveled the silk road, I began to realize it takes a life time and then some to master these traditions. As I moved from process to process, sampling and speeding along, families wove, dyed, batiked, knitted and many many more for generations. People took their one specialty an perfected it, never got bored, never quit. I saw this in India and it could bring me to tears.
These weavers are masters. They are genius artisans, who come to a weaving factory every day to make rugs. Many times the same rug they made yesterday. The speed at which they work is astounding. The machinery they use, the yarn they dye, the intricate patterns they follow, you name it, I was in awe. I will forever be grateful for my time in India, and the time I was very fortunate to have spent watching and learning some quick tips from these brilliant artistic minds.
Besides the weavers, Material was probably the second most enjoyable parts of my time in India. Both of which beat out seeing the Taj Mahal, more on that is Part Two. We picked product and chose colors to sample. If we looked at existing projects, we fixed color. Different vendors had different styles of poms, as well as a different variety. I loved when they would pull out bags of yarns, or large hanks of sari silk. The image on the left was before we rummaged through the box, and the image on the right is jute dyed like recycled sari silk. Color on top of color, my favorite type of color!
Coming up, Part Two: Masala!