Mitzie & Aaron
My wonderful, beautiful, intelligent mother, Dee, died in 2008 in a desert camp in Rajasthan. This is my own personal pilgrimage to the Thar Desert to the place where her spirit rests and I look forward to celebrating her life.
I carry her longitude & latitude with me for the time when I will have it as a tattoo: N 26˚40’35” E 72˚19’26
Manvar desert camp is made up of a scattering of beautiful fabric Raj tents. Set in a semi-circle, the tents each have a verandah sided in bamboo blinds & campaign-style chairs.
Origin & history of textile names
I have always been interested in the origins of names – visiting craft museums in Delhi, I came across some extracts from a Levi-Strauss book explaining some Indian ones related textiles. (Surely jodhpurs stem from Jodhpur!) So many textiles and motifs we use today, like cashmere, paisley, calico and muslin, originated in India, and that was part of the reason I wanted to go there. Not only are the natural woven textiles so familiar, but so too (even if you don't know all the names) are woodblock prints, beading, metallic threading & weaving, kantha stitching, airiness of khadi, phulkari and aribharat embroidery and so much more. Once you become fascinated & enticed by this, you will end up with a large collection of textiles, which I will show you what to do with.
Hardware range & trades
I work closely with the US store Anthropologie and they asked me to design some decorative hardware pieces for them. As an avid longtime collector of vintage hardware, this was a super-exciting project. I met with fabulous craftspeople in Delhi to make this happen. The collection includes many of my fave things – ephemera clips, curious label pulls for your entomological collections, hand-forged nails, rope sconces, wire cage lamps that clamp, all forms of rope drawer pulls, heavy-duty wire coathangers, cane-handled scissors and, of course, a canvas & leather toolbag with everything a person needs to style their home.
Every year when I was living in NYC, I would fly home for a it of summery Christmas spirit & family catch-up. I met Sally Campbell at her bi-annual textile sale at Shapiro Gallery in Woollahra on one of my jaunts. We instantly fell for one another when I wrapped a tablecloth around myself and declared it my new scarf! Sally is fabulous and is usually swathed head to toe in layers of indigos & reds. She designs beautiful quilts & cushions and works directly with natural dyers, weavers, embroiders & woodblock printers in Delhi, Rajastan & Calcutta.
I jumped at the chance to gallivant & explore Jaipur with her as my unofficial guide & companion.
Driving the short distance to the hotel, I'm already eagle eyed at the decorated and painted trucks – shouldn't all trucks look like this to brighten up the most dismal scape?
As we arrived at the factory, we were showered with rose petal and presented with chrysanthemum leis.
Modes of transport
Camel (&/or cart)
Rickshaw: auto, cycle & human in Calcutta
Tractor & trucks
Hot air balloon
1950s Ambassador with curtains
Donkeys with carts
All my senses are piqued in India, and the colour is just incredible! Tune in next week as I detail my colour palette.