I've lost count of how many times I have been drawn back to India now, I've etched a hard line in the arc that my flight takes from London to Delhi (and yes, this does play on my mind and is a dilemma I continue to battle out round the kitchen table with any poor unsuspecting sounding board!), but you see I am addicted and I haven't been offered a cure yet and if I was I wouldn't take it anyway, because, India, for me, is a gift to my soul, a nourishment to my senses, a happiness in my heart and most importantly its where I am now invested in working with block printers, master craftsmen, and people that I really enjoy being with.
I am just fresh back from a trip so I still have a skip in my step after all the beauty I just witnessed. I get so carried away with my camera, right old happy snapper....so come with me on my ten days and I defy you to tell me that this doesn't inspire you!
PATTERN - There is pattern EVERYWHERE and its so perfectly poised to inspire block prints.
NILA HOUSE - Newly opened in the centre of Jaipur, founded and supported by Lady Bamford this space is breathtaking in its perfection and so beautifully curated that I was moved to tears. They are giving the smaller craftspeople a voice and a platform from which they can shine and shout about their skills. I will be sure to return here every trip.
WEAVERS - Just outside of Jaipur I was blown away by the skills and colourful location of the weavers. We have a very small selection of rugs, I dip my toe over to this other craft because its beautiful and its an essential and irresistible accessory in completing a room.
FLOWER MARKET - You can't go to Jaipur and NOT visit the Phool Mandhi - the main flower market serving the whole city. Can you smell the marigolds and roses?
ANOPURA - I was very lucky to have a spare day to finally get to this little gem, a place I have wanted to visit since it first opened. Along dirt tracks, round dusty bends, tucked away with no sign I felt like I had arrived at quite the loveliest oasis of calm and solitude. Welcomed with cool juice and smiles a plenty I whiled away a day with friends (there is quite a community of us women designers out in Jaipur btw) and when they had all left I spent the evening COMPLETELY alone, crackling fire at my side and beneath the BRIGHTEST of stars. I hadn't realised that I needed this special moment until I was in it and so I savoured the night until the logs were ashes and all other desert noises had succumbed to the soporific vibes of the twinkling stars. Thank you Anopura - you nourished my soul.
BLOCK CARVING - Nothing pleases me more than seeing my sketches becoming usable printing tools. I am having a whole new range of blocks especially carved for my 2020 Workshop programme. The process is mesmerising and I had asked Jonas Spinoy and Ashish, brilliant local cameramen to document the process. Here are some of Jonas's images followed by Ashish's beautiful film. Thanks guys, this is heaven.
PRINTING - last but by no means least, there is the printing....wow do I love the printing. Great long tables with swathes of fabric pinned down....colour appearing before the eye as down thuds the block, thud after thud, moving streamline down the length of the table. Why the bother so many ask, why NOT take the trouble I reply, when what is created could pass as work of art, something so beautiful, so alive and so special, so unique and so genuine. This is why I fly here, this is why I love block print, because its surely one of the most mesmerising, time tested crafts and I feel nothing but pride when the finished piece arrives in my studio, ready to adorn another home, lift another heart, capture another imagination.
THE END! Thanks for travelling this far with me! XX