We’re back from India, after a productive week with our block printing team in Rajasthan and some family time in Gujarat. We love trading the frigid New York City winter for the balmy temps of India, drinking all the fresh Mosambi juice, and absorbing the endless inspiration that India offers. While Whatsapp calls and messages keep us updated year round, there is nothing like watching our designs go from sketch to pdf to block to textile in person.
A lovely morning visiting Samode Palace for the first time. Located one hour outside the city of Jaipur, Samode Palace is worth the car ride. Be sure to call ahead and make a reservation for tea or lunch (and to avoid closures to the public due to weddings!). All the walls are hand painted with natural pigment and we highly enjoyed the brief tour. Get the chai and mini samosas!
We spent our first full day in Bagru dyeing fabric samples. We love color, but we have clear visions of our designs and so getting the exact shade is very important to us (who knew how many pigments have to be mixed to achieve the perfect lavender?! Not too pink, not too purple). Luckily, the hot Rajasthani sun dried all our samples overnight.
Next, we met up with our block carver Rajubhai and his son who were finishing up our last blocks. While block carving is an immensely beautiful art form, it requires long days of hard manual labor in a small and cramped space.
Finally, the most exciting part! Putting it altogether and sampling our prints on fabric. When working with natural dye, the printed fabric has to be boiled and washed and dried multiple times. This can be a painstaking process when there are so many designs to be sampled in a short time. But at the end of the day, when the light and energy levels are fading but we finally get a sample exactly right, it is a truly joyful moment for the whole team.
Luckily, we managed to squeeze in one morning of touristing. We visited the flower market early in the day, enjoyed a chai at the Tattoo Cafe across from the iconic Hawa Mahal, and visited the newly renovated Chhavi Niwas at City Palace.