Travels in Textiles


Thursday, 20 May 2010

Chorlton Arts Festival

I will be giving a talk during Chorlton Arts Festival on the patterns and textiles of the desterts of Gujarat and Rajasthan in India. It will explore the background of the region , the history of the crafts and craftspeople, the stories behind the patterns and uses of cloths and where these crafts people and their work are currently heading in changing times.

Potty about pots!

I went to this exhibition of kachchhi pottery last year during the ceramics biennial in Stoke on Trent. I was so impressed that they'd managed to ship 100s of pots all the way from India to England and only breaking one or two.

It brought back amny memories of seeing the amazing potters and their work when I was over in kachchh. The potters are one of the lowest and poorest castes of India yet they are highly skilled craftspeople. Nowadays their skills are at risk of being lost due to the increase in availability of plastic and the most popular and cheapest crockery material of all - steel.

Potters don't traditionally paint patterns on the pots like this for everyday pots, but had been commissioned to do so for this exhibition. A lot of the patterns show similarity to the region's embroidery and depicts objects of everyday surrounings.

With textiles and jewellery it has been possible for collectors, buyers and traders to bring them to the West and so they are more widely recognised and appreciated.

This isn't as easier with such a fragile material as ceramics.
I hope there will be more exhibitions like this or perhaps we will start to see more of these beautiful objects in shops or markets here like we do the textiles.

On chatting to one of the organisers, a ceramacist currently based at RCA, I found that she knew Carole, the leader of the tour I went on for my first trip to Kachchh and where I met these potters.

While back in india this time I bumped in Carole while watching a concert of traditonal local music. I noticed that one musician was using one of these pots for percussion.