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by Sally Campbell


It's been a hot, steamy, wet and wonderful trip to India.  After collecting samples of our new textile range in Bengal and Rajasthan we headed south towards Pondicherry, 3 or 4 hours from Chennai. My curious mind couldn't wait to see French colonial architecture, eat delicious thalis, take in the heavenly smells of tuber roses, eye watering spices and salty sea sprays.   

We stayed in an ancient French merchants colonial home, recently renovated sublimely into a 6 suite hotel, surrounded by lotus, palms, squirrels and geckos. Inspiration lured us out into the wide Poinsianna lined streets, dripping seductively with their blood red spidery flowers.

Enjoying my early morning coffee hit before venturing out into the steamy Pondi chaos....

Remnants of the beautiful French Colonial architectureDeliciously distressed ruins, baring some charming graffiti

 Hand painted stoles and shawls in natural dyes by Bengali artist Ajit Kumar Das

More geometric hand painted block printed wonders by Ajit Kumar Das. You can see them on my website - just click on sallycampbell.com.au/scarves

We've hit Pondicherry's vegetable, fruit and fish markets.  Always a must on day one of our travels

The fish wives were fierce....lots of screeching and major bargaining

Tuber roses,rose petals, hibiscus and lotus in garlands, giant troughs and traysMandalas on the roadside and little bits of welcoming beauty everywhere

A coriander and chili pepper selling beauty Religion rules the roost in every stall

An indigo powder Mandala on the street

My new teal and stone hand block printed distressed range of quilts and cushions. See the quilts by clicking on sallycampbell.com.au/cotton-filled quilts and the cushions at sallycampbell.com.au/cushions

More Mandala magic

The raspberry and ice version of my new hand block printed distressed quilts and cushions.... you can see where I get my colour inspiration. 

Hardware heaven and rusty as hell before you even purchase......

Afterthe market, strolling along the seaside promenade, we discovered the old tumble- down port. In totally dilapidated old warehouses open to the skies there was a water themed photographic exhibition from photographers all over the world.  Wading through weeds and wild papayas we were instantly captivated by these enormous photographs reflecting climate change.

The Old Port and some photographic exhibits from the water themed exhibition

My new range of linen and indigo hand embroidered cushions with my silk/wool fringed throws. See the cushions at sallycampbell.com.au/cushions and the throws at sallycampbell.com.au/throws

An essential ingredient in our never ending journey for the perfect and imperfect was to visit our Japanese artist friend Jyoti who lives in the rural town of Auroville, famous for it's creative international community. Jyoti entertained us in his Japanese inspired studio, complete with Japanese water gardens, lotus pods, water lilies and everything Zen.  He served us rare vintage teas in traditional tea ceremony style, showed us his exquisite hand made indigo pots, scrolls of his calligraphy and an amazing collection of precious Japanese textiles.  I was in heaven.  A little bit of Japan in remotest India.

Jyoti surrounded by his world of wonderful pots and calligraphy, now exhibiting at Serendipity in Delhi

There is nothing like a thali, served on a large banana leaf, with a bowl of rice and eaten with your fingers.  Strict etiquette required and the food must not spread above the first knuckles of your right hand .... it's all an art and totally delicious