1.324 billion people in India and I met someone I knew!

by Nicole Farrell

It's world population day so I thought I would share this amazing story from one of my trips. There are 1.324 million people in India and I met someone I knew from my craft industry days! Crazy right! 

As you can see from the photos, this was an amazing place with a HUGE range of textiles, bags, clothing, cushions, scarves and more! After adding to my growing textile stash from India, I discovered these fabulous old coins. I was like a kid in a lolly shop! As I sorted through the coins, I started chatting to the owner. I mentioned I was in the middle of selling my craft business and he told me he previously sold his textiles at the Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair. I looked at him carefully and then realised who he was! I visited his stall daily when I was exhibiting at the same craft show! Each day I would try and negotiate a better price (true Indian style!)  Of course I purchased a few kantha quilts by the end of the show!

  

He also recognised me! It was his first show so I was able to offer some advise on exhibiting. Have you got a story about running into someone in another country? A neighbour, old friend.......it always amazes me when I hear these stories. 6 degrees of separation!

 

Love this story? Want to shop for textiles in India? India is a place like no other and I've planned 2 AMAZING textile tours. You'll experience the culture and traditions of this amazing country while in a safe, secure small group. Don't worry if you don't have anyone to travel with, we welcome single travellers. You don't have to be Australian to join our tour. We'll meet you a the airport so just book a flight! Discover more and download an itinerary here. If you'd like to chat further, please give me a call 0402 650 190. Nicole

Kerela houseboat adventure

by Nicole Farrell

Kerela is a state in the South of India. It's famous for it's beaches, tea plantations, Ayurvedic treatments, resorts, backwaters and greenery. I spent a fabulous week exploring the area. One of the highlights was an overnight houseboat on the Kerela backwaters.

 

 The houseboat experience was fun. We had a crew of 3 looking after us with the food a highlight of the experience. Fresh fish with amazing flavour! 

1.1 million people in Kerela rely on the fishery industry for their income. This is only 3% of the state's income! 

 

During the afternoon, a small boat came alongside our houseboat and to my delight, the man was selling ice cream. It would be rude not to buy one considering the effort he had gone to! 

  

The houseboat stops sailing around 5 pm in time to watch the sunset and dock for the night. If you have a chance to experience the backwaters of Kerela I highly recommend it. I would recommend upgrading to a premium houseboat. 

 

Block printing in Bagru, India

by Nicole Farrell

On my recent trip to India I visited the village of Bagru to see the process of block printing. Sadly this tradition is being replaced by screen printing in many areas of India. 

   block printing

Typically block printing is done by men who have passed the techniques down through generations. The stamping is done by sight and with amazing precision. Each colour is stamped individually to create the finished pattern.

 Vegetable and mineral dyes were traditionally used to colour fabrics. However, this is changing over time.

  

 This is the indigo vat. The fabric is immersed for about 30 seconds before being removed to dry in the sun. 

  

 After the fabric has dried in the sun for up to 3 days, it is boiled in a bath of alum to ensure it is colourfast. Families tend to specialise in one aspect of the process; bleaching, printing, drying etc

  

Paisley is a traditional design of India and a personal favourite of mine.

  

Our textiles, temples and tastes of India tour includes a half day dyeing and block printing workshop. It is an optional activity on our other India tours. If you are visiting Jaipur and have an interest in textiles, I highly recommend taking the time experience this technique. Visit our Tour page to find out more.