That is the incredible thing about textiles. Beyond the surface of what you see are the stories of the people who created them, their histories and culture. Every textile tells a story. They can take you to many different places. Through surfaced I want to share the experience and the world of textiles, beyond what you see.
A basket case
The first opportunity is through a simple basket. (Stay tuned for more opportunities).
On a trip to Bangalore, I purchased a shopping basket in the marketplace. The vendor had a huge pile of the baskets and it was really difficult to choose the colour combination that I wanted to bring home, I could have had them all. I chose one and have used my basket over and over and I love it.
So I decided to find out who makes the baskets. It turns out that these baskets are a common commodity in Southern India. Mothers teach children how to weave the baskets and they are also given as gifts. I have heard numerous stories from Indian friends about how they had seen their mothers or grandmothers making them. The baskets are strong, sturdy and hard-wearing, great for shopping, carrying heavy objects like books, or simply for taking to the beach.
This collection of baskets is made by a group of women from a small village called Kalari the in the Tirupur District in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Life is full of surprises and I now found myself in a place I never expected to be. I love my basket and I hope you enjoy using your basket too. It will arrive filled with joy. Your purchase will support the artisans I work with and the women of Kalari to earn an income of their own.
Rajathi Seniyappan hand weaving a basket in her home.