Come see me in Dorchester this Women’s Day!

It’s WOMEN’S DAY this Saturday! I will be participating in the WAND event in Dorchester, selling my beautiful Indian sari scarves and spreading the story of the wonderful rural Indian women who make them. It would be great to see you there!


Pictures from Christmas at RIDE

In a hurry to catch a flight now, but wanted to get the pictures up beforehand so you can all see them. We ended up giving gifts and dresses/shorts to approx 250 children, all associated with RIDE, many of whom live on hand-me-downs so to receive their own dress was a very special occasion! We also added a few little extras; balloons, tea, cake, and a little toy car or bangles. Mad and hectic day but oh so rewarding!

Enjoy the pictures!  Emma x

Chennai Crafts Bazaar

Picture of some of the wonderful crafts on show at The Crafts Council of India Crafts Bazaar 2012, held at Valluvar Kottam exhibition centre in Chennai as part of the Kaiwalam World Crafts Summit. With over a 150 artisans from across India, the Crafts Bazaar showed off India’s rich heritage of arts and crafts.

I couldn’t help but make a few small purchases, which included some cow bells made into a wind chime with amazing acoustics, a beautiful colourful geometric printed blanket and a few too many wooden printing blocks (they can go in my print room when I get back to UK!). I was tempted to buy a giant Khurja t-pots, but really couldn’t find a way to justify this purchase (or transport it safely)!

Christmas at RIDE!

Through the generosity of family and friends from the UK, Australia and Germany giving to our ‘Alternative Christmas’ appeal we raised enough money to buy over 130 gifts which were yesterday donated to the poorest children from villages around Kanchipuram, most of whom have been released from labour through RIDE’s child labour programs.

The day was an absolute blast, it seemed to start in such an orderly fashion with the teachers leading queues of children, all in their best dress, to the centre. It soon turned to chaos. And handing out balloons to children is fine, as long as you don’t mind blowing them ALL up yourself! But seeing the children’s faces and the sheer intense excitement when they received their gifts was something that will stay with me forever. Thanks to all those who made it so special.

Exhibition: Cotton, a way forward

Last weekend I attended the ‘Cotton – A way forward‘ exhibition at Maison Colombani in Pondicherry. The wonderful French colonial town of Pondicherry, where the pace slows down (provided you stick to the French quarter and avoid the town centre), and where we have our periodic fix of steak, red wine and chips, with breakfast of fresh breads and home-made jam!

The Kapas organic cotton project, which has culminated in this exhibition, is an initiative founder by Upasana Design Studio. Their aim has been to create a sustainable, ethical, end to end process from farm to product. Working directly with small scale cotton farmers, dyers and weavers and showcasing the most sustainable methods to promote the best way forward. The exhibition is intended to reach out, raise awareness, and encourage others to question where their cotton comes from.

I will be visiting Upasana and interviewing their Kapas representative in the coming weeks to discuss the project and how it has helped farmers to convert to organic. This will feed into an article I am writing for Ethical Fashion Forum.

I’ve picked out a few points from the exhibition which I feel are especially relevant. The most poignant for me personally is the idea that we need to raise the value of the khadi hand-loom fabrics in India. These products should again be appreciated for their values, uniqueness and properties. In society today, hand-loom can not compete with power-loom fabric, but it should not have to. A piece of hand made fabric will appeal to a different market entirely and with the right marketing and product development there is no reason why they can not be valued for their aesthetic and cultural relevance.

For further information on the project visit the Paruthi Blog or the Kapas website.