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  • Michele Immelman

How With Passion We Bring To You The Creative Heart Of Curious Shopping

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

"What can I do to keep the enthusiasm for 'things India' alive"? I ask myself.


So, as the pandemic months go by I learn more and more about the tapestry of Indian culture that is woven in many threads. Hours of attending Zoom presentations, joining textile groups on social media is my education platform and my encouragement to introduce a new feature within Curious Journeys. My curiosity cannot take a back seat and I explore the world of textile as presented in the India Textile Tour and the Textile Tour of Manipur and Assam offered by Curious Journeys.


Kullu Shawl Weaving Process. Image by Dastkari Haat Samiti
Kullu Shawl Weaving Process. Image by Dastkari Haat Samiti

As a consequence Curious Shopping takes shape as an online platform to embellish our world with cultural threads.


 

Let us very briefly explore the origin of the textiles and products presently on offer by Curious Shopping.


Vankar Weaver Community - Bhuj, Gujarat


The Vankar community is best known for its accomplished weaving tradition and artisanal production which flourishes near the town of Bhuj, Gujarat in India. The work produced by the Vankars is in a class of its own and difficult to copy. Whoever purchases the high quality work produced by the Vankars are creating an opportunity for the advancement of Vankar's weaving and dyeing skills to a competitive level globally.


Weaving community Bhuj, Gujarat
Typical weaver village Bhuj, Gujarat

The Vankar spinners and weavers are also able to work with India's kala cotton. This variety of cotton has evolved under desert conditions and does not require excessive irrigation or pesticides to flourish.


Kala Cotton Shawls by Curious Shopping

The kala cotton is hand spun and handwoven by the artisans and the shawl softens beautifully with every wash. ​ These shawls are finished off with tassels and can be used both as dupatta and as a shawl.





A collaboration of like minded, free spirited artisans work together under the banner of United Artisans of Kutch, co-ordinated by Kuldip Gadhvi, in an effort to design and create their products and sell directly to customers.


Kutch is home to some of the world's most incredible, traditional textiles and handicrafts. The ancient crafts of the area have evolved over time and recently there has been a renewed appreciation for handmade and hand printed, naturally dyed items which have now become fashionable and sought after.


I have had the privilege of acquiring astounding work by the talented Hareshbhai Manodhiya and his sister-in-law Parulben, a handloom weaver. The tassels on each of the shawls is an artwork in it own right and was done by Daxaben, an accomplished tassel maker.



Kutch Shawls by Curious Shopping


Natural fibre, weightless and comfortable. This shawl will match any of your clothing. You will stand out in the crowd with this once off item.





LAMBANI EMBROIDERY


The process of Lambani involves hand spinning, hand weaving, natural dyeing, hand-block printing and then embroidery to make a finished product
The process of Lambani involves hand spinning, hand weaving, natural dyeing, hand-block printing and then embroidery to make a finished product

Amongst all the nomadic tribes of India, is the Lambanis, elsewhere known as "Banjaras", a semi-nomadic people from southern and middle India. The women of these tribes are holding steadfast to their ancient mode of dress, which is perhaps the most colorful and elaborate of any tribal group in India. The Lambani women practice a unique mirror and embroidery craft, which they mostly use for making their own traditional dresses or for giving to their daughters for their weddings.


Lambani embroidery is an amalgam of pattern darning, mirror work, cross stitch, and overlaid and quilting stitches with borders of “Kangura” patchwork appliqué, done on loosely woven dark blue or red handloom base fabric.


Lambani Embroidery Stoles by Curious Shopping





HAND BLOCK PRINTING


The block-carving artisans make use of tools such as small hammers, chisels and drills to be able to carve elaborate patterns into wooden blocks.


Once the carving process is complete the blocks are dipped in mustard oil to rest for at least a week. This helps prevent cracking of the blocks upon exposure to dry conditions. The carvers also drill miniature holes into the wooden blocks to allow the wood to breathe. This also extends the life of a wooden block by up to a few decades.




After the carving process, dye is applied to the wooden block surface with the help of a ‘sieve’. The wooden block is gently pressed onto the palette of dye before being applied against the fabric.


Block printing has a special technique that needs to be followed in order to get the desired results. Printing always begins from left to right. A plank of wood is used to even out the colour on the tray. The craftsman dips the block into a dark outline colour and applies it to the fabric. This is done repeatedly along the length and breadth of the fabric.



Once the hand block-printing process is complete, the craftsman scatters some fine saw dust onto the wet dye to prevent smudging of the design. The fabric is then left to dry out in the Sun. Different dyes may be used for block printing on cotton and silk fabrics. Some of the common cotton dyes include indigo sol, pigment dyes and rapid dyes. The traditional colours used for block printing are red, black, brown, mustard and orange.


Hand Block Printed Indigo Dye Kaftans by Curious Shopping


Comfortable full length kaftans for home wear.




Hand Block Printed Quilts by Curious Shopping


Exquisite unique designs, hand crafted by the amazing artisans of Jaipur, India.

Made with soft cotton fabric which is smooth and lightweight.

Two sheets of cotton are hand block printed by the deft artisans and during construction, a softer layer of flannel is spread between the two soft cotton. layers, giving an extra fluffy comfort to the entire quilt. This makes the quilt warm and cool at the same time.





 

If the products intrigued you; if you love textiles; if you enjoy exploring cultures through textile and crafts.. then please follow Curious Shopping, I would love to make some of these beautiful products available to you.

https://www.curiousjourneys.co.za/shop


Please share this blog with your friends, let us get the word out about this new and exciting venture.


For any queries, please contact me personally:

mich@curiousjourneys.co.za

www.curiousjourneys.co.za




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