Wednesday, October 10, 2012

festivals and fabrics

I have been picking out photos to post here, but last night I did a quick reduction of all the trip photos, to show family and friends. Got them down to 1000, so obviously need to do some more work on them yet.
Here again from Kolkata, are just a few pictures of the pottery, sculptures and decorations for the Indiam festivals, and  scenes from the Weaver's Studio workshop that we visited.

 Very intricate work in the clay and the decorations
  Glueing the decorations
 Mixing the clay with his feet
 The basis or centre of the sculptures are straw, which is bundled and tied with a little foot help, and then covered with the clay and sun or air dried (heaters might be used if deadlines are looming). They are then painted and decorated using all sorts of things - paper, braids, beads or sometimes shaved wood. The sculptures and decorations are made to order for the various festivals throughout the year, so providing full time work for these craftsmen. They are destroyed after each festival (usually by throwing into the Ganges).
  Above, I am not sure if he is mixing another colour clay or paint. Below are small clay dishes drying
  Tile decorations on a wall
From their website - The Weavers Studio, Kolkata was set up in 1993 as an entrepreneurial venture, showcasing traditional Indian textile craft and the works of our crafts persons to audiences worldwide, through exhibitions as well as sales and has gained expertise and knowledge in creating beautiful traditional Indian textiles. “Use as many hands as possible” is our mission statement, and at the same time engage young women from different strata of societyto train them in the language and aesthetics of our rich textile heritage. You can see more at
 The goods for sale were high quality and beautiful. Here is a shot of some jewellery, and you can just see the plate for the chocolate cake they offered us with tea!
In the workshop we were lucky enough to see all aspects in operation - spool preparation and weaving
 This one was a special, intricate piece being made for an Indigo exhibition to travel in India, and then maybe (hopefully) places like Australia.
Below is the pressing machine, for the long lengths.
Finished lengths ready for sale
 Paint pots for printing
 Block printing. They have thousands of numbered blocks, all cataloged
 Screen printing - there are hundreds of cataloged screens too.
 Embroidering and sashiko tying
This piece is tied for sashiko dyeing
 ... and these are those little white spots in close up
 Couldn't resist this - the shoes of the ladies embroidering...
The printed  pieces are steamed for a couple of hours in a big heavy bundle that a couple of men had difficulty handling. We got there just as it was being unrolled. Then one by one with dye catcher sheets in between each one, the newly printed fabrics, full lengths, or several small lengths, were taken from the pile.
I counted the number of layers of printed fabrics in the bundle (I actually clicked a photo for each one, but you don't see much of the fabrics as the men were too quick) and there were 30. That means there were double that with the in between sheets, 60 lengths in all, in that very heavy bundle.
This was on the roof level, where fabrics were dyed also, rinsed in big tubs and hung to dry
Great views over the city from up there too.

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