Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Organic Cotton Ajrakh Blockprints from India



[Update: Our appologies! In our excitement to tell this story we neglected to mention the prices of the Ajrakhs:
60 x 60" - $59.95
60 x 90" - $69.95
90 x 90" - $89.95
90 x 108' - $98.95
Queen Duvet - $159.95
King Duvet - $179.95
all prices Cdn.]

Our first shipment of Ajrakh blockprinting made from certified organic cotton has arrived from India. This is a moment that has been many years in the making.

We started by finding reliable organic certification. Our cotton is certified by SKAL and Solidaridad, two independent groups based in the Netherlands. In order to purchase organic cotton we must buy the crop while it is in the field. After harvest, ginning, spinning, and weaving the yardage is ready. Bolts of organic cotton were then shipped to the Khatri community of blockprinters in the Kutch desert. They took the organic cotton and put it to the test by printing a range of samples in different patterns and colours. They liked it so much they made over 50 samples in traditional Ajrakh designs. The craftspeople were impressed: the cotton received the dyes very well and gave magnificent crisp lines. We looked at the results and chose a series of our favourites to bring into the store. Here is a photo of the results - but to really appreciate them we encourage you to come into the shop, open one up and feel the cotton.

(click on the image for a larger version)


There is another side to this story which many of our regular readers will know. Last year the Maiwa Foundation did a series of fundraising auctions to fund the relocation of the blockprint studio. Falling water tables, impurities and salt in the water meant that the blockprinting that has been going on in Dhamadka for generations would soon be gone. Through the generosity of those who attended our events the relocation was made possible. Here Charllotte Kwon, director of the Maiwa Foundation stands with Ismail Khatri on the new land. Below, the new washing tanks are design to reuse water four times before letting it out to irrigate the fields.




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