There's not been much time to blog lately - apologies. However, we wanted to share a brief glimpse into one of the reasons we were so busy last month.
We were one of four incredibly lucky designers from Scotland (the other three being Gabriella Marcella DITano, Charlotte Linton and Emlyn Firth) who were invited over to India by curators Katy West and Lokesh Ghai for the second part of a hugely inspirational project called India Street.
Buckets of ink at the block printing workshop, Ahmedabad.
We spent two weeks both furthering our research and developing the design that we created last year for the first part of the project - Part 1:The Bombay Sample Book. (Our blog post about this first part can be seen here). This involved many research trips (including visits to places like this amazing hand made paper factory below) and investigations into the traditional processes and techniques that are still in use today in India to produce fabric.
Research visit to a paper making factory, Ahmedabad.
Katy West explains:
"Part 2: Building Blocks is bringing the India Street designers together for a practical workshop in Ahmedabad, Gujarat in February 2015. Curated by Katy West and Lokesh Ghai, the workshop involves research visits around Gujarat and Kutch visiting craftspeople that still produce fabrics with the same processes that were imitated by the Turkey red designs of the nineteenth century.
India Street Designers are: Emlyn Firth - Lokesh Ghai - Charlotte Linton - Raw Mango - Gabriella Marcella - People Tree - Laura Spring.
Working together with local producers and craftspeople they will explore ways to produce their new designs, using the indigenous crafts that inspired the original Turkey red. Explorations with print, block print, tie-dye, and embroidery will translate these sample prints into prototypes that genuinely share their values and inspirations across time and place.
Avanti Apparels, a block-printing workshop based in Ahmedabad, is partnering on the project and offering the designers space and time to explore and develop their ideas from the initial digital print. The workshop will give everyone an opportunity to reconsider their design, its subject, composition, colouring, and fabric, in an environment conducive to ethical production.
The workshop is also a platform to discuss ethics around design, production and distribution. Gujarat is a major producer of fabrics for export, and is also home to a number of India’s leading design institutions. In partnership with NIFT Gandhinagar, and Pearl Academy, Delhi, an event is planned to present the project to an invited audience of design students and professionals."
Fabric drying out in the sun, Kutch.
Colour swatches at the block printers, Ahmedabad.
The experience is one we'll never forget. It not only fed our creativity and inspired us from beginning to end, but the hospitality and warmth we received whilst in India was amazing. We don't want to share too much just now as there are plans to bring all this research and development together into a format everyone can experience next year in a third part. So please check out the India Street facebook page for more information about how the project continues....
Huge thanks go out to Katy and Lokesh for making this happen and to all the brilliant people we met on our travels...
Thanks also go to the British Council India and Creative Scotland for their roles in making this happen.