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Indian Textile Adventure #2: Impromptu Tour of Weaver Cooperative

A weaver at her loom. We were staying in Kannur which is a town in Kerala on the Malabar Coast. As we were exploring the town from the back of an auto-rickshaw, I spied what looked to be wet skeins, just drying by the side of the road. I asked the rickshaw driver to stop, and found that we were at the Kanhirode Weaver's Co-operative. And just like that, we just walked in to their offices off the street and were treated to a one hour tour of their facility.  View from the road. The Coop has been around since the 1950s. They weave mostly cotton (with some linen) for the home textile market - towels, table cloths, placemats, etc.  They...

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Indian Textile Adventure #3: Madurai Tailor's Market

Imagine an antiquated, intricately hand-carved hall that serves not as a museum, but as a living, breathing market. Instead of the sculptures and carvings being preserved behind glass, small birds roost in the crevices, and shopkeepers hang their wares in any opportune crack. Such a place exists just outside the ancient temple in the heart of Madurai, India, deep within the state of Tamil Nadu. That's my husband and son with their backpacks on in the photo above, walking through a colonnade of 400 year old sculptures that now serve as a backdrop for rows of tailors and shops.  This place is called Pudhu Mandapam, and until about 200 years ago it was a place where parties and festivals were held....

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Indian Textile Adventure #1: Buying a Sari

Me modeling my first sari with the styling help of the seamstresses who made my sari blouse. I just got back from a month-long trip to India.  It was my second trip.  I am fascinated by this country with its hundreds of languages and cultures, its crazy dichotomies of wealth and poverty, and its over-powering smells, tastes and sounds.  Other travellers have described India as "a feast for the senses", and I think almost any traveller who has visited India would agree.   Beyond this feast for the senses, India is a treasure chest for any fan of fiber.  (And really not just textile lovers: it is a fascinating place for any crafter or DIYer - since just about everything...

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