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by Sally Campbell

WEAVING FROM LOOM TO LOOM…. was the definite theme to this Indian journey.  Though I certainly started with a very rocky beginning, finding myself still sitting in the Sydney Indian Consulate at 6.30pm the night before flying, waiting for my business visa.  It was my 5th visit to the Consulate over 2 months and still no visa for reasons beyond comprehension..  Bureaucracy won over and I became increasingly desperate and handed over very large amounts of money to obtain an urgent visa.  This was only the beginning, day 1 in Delhi I was in Thomas Cook money exchange, handing over thousands of Australian dollars to change into Rupees.  This takes quite a while. 20 minutes later the exchanger approaches me to say she couldn't account for a few thousand of my dollars.  After I got hysterical she then returned to her desk chaos and discovered my money on the floor and half of it had blown down the hall.

 Thank goodness from then on the trip was bliss.  I hurled the stress factor over my shoulder and headed on into some wonderous adventures. Starting with a visit to the Devi Foundation in Delhi to see an exhibition called Fracture.  An Indian textile designer called Aneeth Arora had created an amazing Purdah Tent. Inspired by the royal family harem for travel in the medieval period. All machine embroidered on the finest voile showing the extraordinary delicate craft and expertise created by a machine.  Aneeth has a label called Pero and all her clothing range is all hand made.  She is famous for mixing many different crafts together to give brilliant East meets West looks. Her work is always a total inspiration and the tent a triumph.

Aneeth Arora's Purdah Inspired Tent

Tent Window And Wall Details.

My next stop was Jaipur to meet my friend Meeta in the little village of Kaladera.  She and Pintu have a wonderful mud resist block printing business, creating lots of delicious designs from natural dyes. After some more block printing ventures and visits to old textile collectors I began my weaving trail and travelled to Bhuj in Gujurat, Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh,       Hyderabad for ikat,  and Fulia in Bengal.  All famous for different weaving techniques.   A new discovery for me this time was Maheshwar. Way out in rural India by some heavenly old ghats near a 15th century fort is the Rehwa society and nearby is Sally Holkar's co-operative Women Weave.  Sally is an incredible person who has taught many destitute women how to weave, providing them with an income .  She is also  responsible for organising lots of young weavers from all over India to get together and learn from each others weaving techniques, so they can keep each other inspired and the weaving industry alive.  All a tremendous thrill to see. Just wandering round the beautiful looms, seeing silks being spun on handmade wooden spindles,stunning old wooden bobbins and the calming clickety clacks of the looms buzzing away. I was in heaven.

Golden loom set up in the Rehwa Society

Golden threads on spools ready to be spun

Handwoven golden sari hammock

Hindu Shrine at the foot of a Neem tree and my golden Phulkari in all its splendour

Guru in aqua preparing an offering with his colourful gaggle of followers

Pink and Aqua loom, hot pink silk on wooden spindle and spinning thread

Tie and Dye Silk Scarves with Holi Powder

My Vintage Hot Pink Phulkari Cushion Lying On A Hand Embroidered Ralli Quilt

2 Gorgeous Kolkata Women Posing Outside Their Homes

Sublime Sea Green Home With Rusty Old Bike

Pink And Green Patina To Die For…...

Washing Chaos In Pink And Green Harmony Blending With My Handwoven, Hand Stitched Quilts

A Pink Wall I Couldn't Resist

One of Sally Holkar's Looms In Maheshwar

Scarf In process of being woven and completed 

Indigo Silk Being Spun …And Those Exquisite Hands

Blue And White Weaves And My Handwoven Tie And Dye Scarves

More Brilliant Blue Wall Wonders…Becoming A Colour Palette Addiction

Goat Bliss In Blue Harmony

Hindu Welcome Hands,Saris Drying and Colour Co-Ordinated Cow

Pink Perfection All Round…What A Welcome, No Beige In This Home

My Vintage Handwoven Bolster Cushion

Krishna Keeping This Household In Spiritual Heaven

House Of Ken And Barbie…Pink Wedded Bliss

Red And Lime Loom Balanced By Weights And Silks On Wooden Spools

My Ikat Handwoven Scarf and Red Cotton Drying Before Being Woven

2 Charming Gentlemen I Met On My Travels With Their Own Original Dress Style

Colour Just Oozes From Every Pore…Domestic Bliss Yet Again

Maheshwar Ghats….Our Hotel Right On The Edge Of The Cliff Face….Sublime

Our Get Away Vehicle For Sunset Cocktails And Exploring

Downtown Kolkata Madness

You Can See Where My Inspiration Comes From For My Vintage Hand Stitched Quilts

Goats Jumping Up And Down On The Charpoy

Local Guru In The Wheat Fields Washing … Conversing Was A Problem

Grain Bags And Lime Door In Harmony With My Lilac And Lime Quilts

This Home Has A Few Electrical Problems….Or Does It!

Washing Down At The Ghats...

Local Transport In Downtown Kolkata

Two Guys I Met Standing In front Of Their House Of Tyres

Stone House With A Giant Tree Growing Out Of The Wall…And Wooden Carved Gates

Down Back Alleys In Old Kolkata Where I Stroll For Hours

Hand Painted Terracotta Water Pots In Bhuj Market

My Handstitched, Handwoven Quilt Sitting Comfortably Next To A Politicians Home

Beautiful Hand Carved Wooden Blocks

Mud Ready To Be Applied For Mud Resist Block Printing

Spoon And Fork Block For My New Tablecloth Range In Indigo…Very Thrilling

Mud Being Applied By The Block …The Beginning Of A 15 Stage Process…End Of Process In Indigo/White

Old Ajrakh Block Print Designs…They Used To Wrap The Egyptian Mummies In These Yummy Natural Dye Blocks

Modern Block Prints On Silk In Natural Indigo Dyes