the purpose of the passage to India was to bring a group of women from Australia to work together with a group of women at Vikasana training centre in Mandya village in order to try to establish a range of products that could be hand-crafted there for eventual on-line selling so that the makers could have the chance of earning an income.
the tour was organised by Marion & Jon Gorr (more familiarly addressed respectively as the Bird and the Elephant) of Beautiful Silks, the Melbourne-based company where I purchase silks for my costume work. While most participants paid their own way, the Bird and the Elephant covered travel costs and expenses for Nalda Searles (West Australian textile artist) and your correspondent. Nalda was along to teach string-making and netting techniques; I went along to assess the potential for a plant dye project.
the Hapa-zome technique proved popular.
teaching in a crowd requires inner calm (and very careful stepping)
my usual practice of stacking a dyepot and leaving it to its own devices was sabotaged by eager participants who insisted on jiggling the bundles as if they were teabags...
the Bird and the Elephant organised for bales of "silk waste" to be delivered to Vikasana. Calling the material silk waste was to my mind a complete misnomer. The bales were stuffed full of jewel-bright silk loom ends, weave & dye samples and silk pieces up to 4 metres long. At Nalda's suggestion, participants began making dolls as well as metres of beautiful silk string and netted billum-like bags. (the doll pictured above was made by me as a souvenir for the Bird...but for some obscure reason somebody later signed their name in ink right across the delicate pink leaf-print on the apron. it's an odd world)
this doll came home with me, bearing a red leaf-print from the teak tree (see earlier post)
and this one was made by the Bird a a souvenir for Nalda (click on the label 'string' below to find a much earlier post mentioning her work)