Back from India

What a culture shock, arriving back from a balmy India to a freezing cold, sleety London with not a single cow anywhere on the road! 😉

I had a fabulous time touring Gujarat for three weeks, saw some amazing sights, met some wonderful people – and bought some terrific textiles. Our driver, Deep Singh, booked through Northwest Safaries, was excellent – courteous, safe, and completely unfazed at negotiating junctions involving, cars, buses, autorickshaws, bullock carts, camels, motorbikes (not to mention cows, goats, and wild pigs). He’s been doing the job for nearly 30 years, so he took us to artisans and producers – including, to my surprise, a felter! – not mentioned in any of the guidebooks.

I’ll be writing about some of the textiles and techniques I saw over the next few weeks, once I’ve caught up with real life again! But here are a few photos just to whet your appetite from this wonderfully inspiring trip.

With our excellent driver, Mr Deep Singh
With our excellent driver, Mr Deep Singh
gujarat haul
Some of my textile haul!
gujarat tyres
Even tyres in Gujarat display wonderful textures!
gujarat bags
Patchwork bags at the market
gujarat chair embroidery
Faded embroidery on a chair in the street
gujarat children
Friendly children in the cotton fields
gujarat cow
Probably the best-dressed cow we saw in India
gujarat cushion
Gorgeous cushion in Ahmedabad hotel
gujarat fish market
The most intense fish market I’ve ever been to, in Diu
gujarat geometry
Wonderful Mughal carving
gujarat hodka ceiling
Colourful ceiling display
gujarat leaf plaster
Leaves were used to create patterns on the plastered walls of a hut we stayed in
gujarat market
One of the most artfully arranged markets I’ve seen
gujarat rope chair
Rope chair in hotel bathroom
gujarat stone peacock
Peacocks are a very popular motif


A stitch in time

Brixton is currently sprouting markets like mushrooms. As well as the monthly makers’ market (which is this Saturday – and did I mention I’ll have a stall there?!), there are now monthly flea markets and vintage markets, as well as food on Fridays.

I dropped in on the first flea market last Saturday and came across a stall selling old origami and craft books. Among the collection was a volume called Contemporary Whitework by Tracy A Franklin and Nicola Jarvis. Having become rather bogged down with printing over recent weeks, I think it may inspire me to take up the needle and do some more stitching.

Drawn thread work and pulled work look a bit too fiddly, but it might be interesting to experiment with some Richelieu and cutwork, and I love the textures produced by Mountmellick embroidery.

Avril, one of the students who was on the creative and experimental textiles course at Morley College with me last year, has been working on some beautiful embroidered buttons recently.

However, although I admire the effects of whitework, I think it would be very difficult for me to work in monochrome! I need colour as well as texture, so I’m more likely to use the techniques to continue on my rainbow-coloured path, as in the sample of fused plastic bags and bubble wrap below.