Tuesday, April 16, 2013

India - Textiles!

Indian Textiles -- a major love of my life...
Today was devoted entirely to all things of brightly embroidered beauty....

We bought piles of mirror cloth toran, which are wall hangings used over doors or windows with festive trim hanging down like oversize rick-rack.

Cowrie shell tassels
 Old Kutchi pillow cover fronts
 Stacks of silk hand stitched shawls
Did I mention how much I love these intricate Kutch mirror worked pieces?  They are from an area in north Gujarat known for it's incredible artistry in cloth.  Often included in girl's dowries, these beautiful cloths take women weeks to complete.  Light dances across the tiny mirrors and the brilliant colors seem to vibrate.

Good old kantha - these blankets made of old cotton saris and other household textiles are an easy thing to overlook.  They are suddenly everywhere in the design world and I keep thinking they are done - over-exposed.  But then we start looking through the piles - turning over one questionable side to find the most delightful pattern on the reverse.  Maybe I'll just open one more, three more, two dozen more -- and that is how you end up with stacks of them -- such fun!  

Speaking of questionable textile purchases...  Yes - we bought a dozen or two kooky patchwork critters - from tiny to trottable.  Camels, horses and elephants -- we couldn't help ourselves.  See how they look like they are making a break for it out the door?  That's what shopping for textiles for 9 hours straight does to you...
Reality of shopping - it takes a lot of patience....
And perseverance -- here is Linda in the basement of the third textile warehouse of the day...

But even the simplest cotton blankets are beautifully rendered in earthy tones, subtle stripes. with delicate hand knotted trim - they are subtle and love to layer.
Other pieces beg to be touched and examined.  These Afghani Zazi textiles are the perfect size to traditionally cover your tribal tea table while having a cup of chai.  The little hand embroidered squares have clusters of blue seed beads completely surrounding their borders. 

Last but certainly not least - a delicious double sided Pashtun pillow cover - these are from the Swat Valley in Pakistan and are covered entirely in the most delicate silk hand embroidery. 
This might very well have to follow me home...


  1. Wow! I have had India on my schedule for next year, but after seeing your photos I am dying to go sooner! I may have beg you for your sources too....

    1. Hi Jacqueline - thanks so much for your comment! India is s fabulous place. Jaipur is a true treasure trove for textiles and jewelry -- and of course if it is antiques and furnishings you are sourcing you must go to Jodhpur. Let me know if you head to Rajasthan soon and I can give you some tips -- I've been going yearly at least for the last 15 years or so.
      I just found your website - so much to explore there-- lovely!