On my Indian trip in February, we visited a village near Jodhpur where all the women in one extended family were producing very fine hand-embroidered fabrics. The pieces made were mostly large and very intricate, many taking weeks to complete. Learning a little about how these women produced such neat and painstaking work was very interesting.
Most embroidery was done on cotton cloth, ranging from moderately heavyweight fabric to the finest semi-transparent muslins. Silk is also used to a lesser extent. Stitching was mainly done using gold, silver and white threads. Most of the fabric used was white in colour but some work is also done on bright materials. On many pieces they also stitched sequins into the design, while some other work featured intricate beadwork. Most of the embroidered fabrics are sold for use as bedcovers, though some tourists want them as curtains or wall hangings.
The big secret to their process was that the fabric is first printed with very faint guidelines which the women then embroider over. The printing is done from woodblocks made by one of the men from the same family. The women did a lot of the work with the cloth stretched between two bars on a horizontal frame and worked on one small section at a time. They gradually rolled the cloth from one bar to the other so that they could reach all parts of it.
Hand embroidery using a horizontal frame
Another product the women were making was hand-embroidered uppers for traditional Indian slippers. Slippers of this type are widely seen but the embroidery work produced by these very talented ladies was particularly fine.
Hand embroidered upper for a slipper
Below is a slipper of the type being embroidered (this one was embroidered by someone else.)
We were preparing some work to go out to a gallery today which included taking our reference photographs. At the same time Alex took some more pics to share with you. Hope that you like them:
These pieces are headed for the shop at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, an excellent craft gallery to visit if you are in the South-West of England.
The Devon Guild Summer Show of members work (including a couple of my pieces), runs from June 30th to September 2nd (check out the Guild Facebook page.)
There may have been no raindrops on my roses the last time I posted on this soggy subject but there certainly are now. With constant rain and gale force winds all the flowers in my garden have been given a real battering. Yet even depressing weather can yield some beauty and when it did clear up a bit today I went out with my camera and got some more nice shots of pretty droplets:
I find doors interesting. The door to a home marks a border; a dividing line between outside and inside; between “ours” and “theirs.” Old doors that have seen a lot of history have a character all of their own. They can say a lot about the sort of people who have lived there. When I was in Rajasthan, India earlier this year I photographed a lot of doors. Here is a selection of them.
This ancient rusting iron door was amazing!
Detail of the door above
The rusting iron door-frame
And of course, with a door there is always the possibility of a glimpse inside.
In another post soon I will show you some doors from China.
I adore earrings. They are the one form of jewellery that I have always obsessively collected – or at least I did until I started making them as a business eight or nine years ago.
Earrings made in 2011
Shopping for earrings was once one of my greatest pleasures and my husband always knew what to look for when he was stuck for a present. I have never been too interested in the value of the things that I hung from my ears, gold or found objects are pretty much the same to me. The only strict criterion was that they should be distinctive; that they should not blend into the background of all the other ordinary earrings on the market.
Over the years I had made earrings too, for myself and sometimes for friends. I would use beads or found objects, even feathers; and then, almost a decade ago I hit on a way of using my textile techniques to make earrings that satisfied me. Faced with making earrings myself every week, my love affair with buying earrings faded.
I still wore earrings, of course, but for a while I felt like I had to be a walking advertising hoarding and always wear my own creations. Now I am much more relaxed and regularly enjoy donning my old favourites bought many years ago.
I still love to look at earrings by other craft makers but I rarely buy now. In truth I probably own so many that I could always dig out something that looks fresh without ever getting another new pair. I am not saying that I never will though!