Color Block March 28 2018, 0 Comments
I recently stumbled on these photos on Pinterest and was absolutely mesmerized by these buildings. These color blocked buildings in Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, India are wonderful. India is known for its vibrancy of color, but these buildings are something else. All these color blocked buildings are domestic buildings. How fun would it be to live in a candy house?
(Images courtesy of Vincent Leroux)
Caravan Dreams November 27 2014, 0 Comments
A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of decorating a client's winter tent for her. She wanted to update the traditional bedouin bait shar she had and make it look modern and chic. We filled it with our striped Tokyo Dhurries to match the seating and cushions lines. We made sure to stick to the Arabian nights feel and keep the seating on the floor. We kept our brass stars and marble bowls on the floor for the snacks and food. Thanks to our client this project was a creative and fun collaborative process.
Rugs, Trays, Candle Stands, Bowls, Cushions, and Lanterns are all available online.
We're Off To India! November 12 2014, 0 Comments
(Image courtesy of Vogue)
'Aaj Mausam Bada Beimnaan Hai Badaa ... ' September 18 2013, 0 Comments
The best time to be in Jaipur, for me, is right after the monsoon.
It's still very hot, more balmy than hot. It' s intensely green and the heat is interrupted by random light showers and abrupt thunder storms.
But the best thing about this season, is that the workshops are on fire.
Everyone is back to work, as things can finally dry. And not unlike the feeling of coming back from vacation, everyone is pretty excited to see each other again.
All, except Ajit ... Ajit always walks into the office without knocking first, he grunts and casually slumps into a chair and starts staring across the room, hoping to see what new samples I am working on that he can criticize.
Picking up a wooden plate I had just had made he shakes his head and tsks to himself, 'not perfect ...'
I ignore him. I always do. I usually don't even look up, as I am generally annoyed at this point by his aloof tardiness.
Ajit begins to taunt .... 'not perrrfecttt...'
I get annoyed, without looking up I ask him where my production is that I ordered 6 months before...
'No money, no production'.
Now my temperature rises. I try to keep my cool, and coldly ask what he's done with the down payment I gave him with the order...six months ago.
The cold war begins, Ajit attacks, I attack back, quietly, no voices rising, no eye contact made, just passive aggressive banter.
Our relationship has been this way since I was 21. I worked with Ajit on several projects for Munnu ji and developed a rapport that I don't have with any of the other artisans.
You see, as unreliable as he can be with timing or costing, the man is really very good at what he does. He loves his craft, and trains the team that works with him with precision. He also has a sharp eye, and enjoys more than anything to develop a piece. To work on it until the lines and curves are perfect and in proportion to the design.
I've learned a lot from Ajit over the years. Patience first and foremost, and to enjoy the process of developing a product.
This time our argument escalated and I jump out of my chair. In order to calm myself I start to arrange the office bouquet in bitter silence.
Ajit slowly rises, walks towards me, stomach first, and begins to arrange the flowers as well.
'Ok, ok, now I show you sample'...
He opens his magic bag and pulls out my samples, my hurt pumps, adrenaline takes over and all is at peace again.
(Images courtesy of ecru)
Weaving for a Cause July 15 2013, 0 Comments
Collaborating with different manufactures encourages traditional handicraft techniques and the unique artisans behind them. ecru’s kitchen and beach towels are produced by Kara Weaves a wonderful creative venture, from Kerala, with a social cause.
Kara Weaves was born out of the need to give Kerala's handloom industry a much needed push. The small team behind Kara works closely with various cooperative communities of handloom weavers to create customized products.
“Thorthu” is the finely woven cotton material used for the towels, which was traditionally used as Ayurvedic body-wipe fabric. Handloom is used because pure cotton yarn is only suitable for slow speed spinning and weaving process. This technique preserves the luster, color-holding, capacity, absorbency, softness, and durability of the cotton products.
We have already introduced you to their bright towels this past spring, so stay tuned for our new range of colors and designs in our latest collaboration with Kara Weaves.
(Images courtesy of Hind Al Tamimi and ecru)
Enchanting Jaipur June 25 2013, 0 Comments
After the hustle and bustle of Bombay we hopped on the train to enchanting Jaipur. Once there, we met with all the talented artisans we work with to discuss the production of new exciting ecru products for your home. Bright colors of thread were chosen for our embroidered crib charms at Sophia 203, cotton was dyed in unique colors to be woven into our dhurries, and bright paint was mixed to create unique combinations for our hand block printed fabric.
We can’t wait to show you what’s up our sleeves, but until then, here’s a little sneak peek of what went on in Jaipur.
Bombay Meri Jaan June 12 2013, 0 Comments
We are in Bombay enjoying this energetic city during monsoon, finding inspiration in every street corner. Most importantly we are meeting with the talented Modest Genius, and Kara Weaves to collaborate on exciting new ecru products.
Stay tuned for more on our trip because we are off to enchanting Jaipur next.
Arabesque Mysticism May 20 2013, 0 Comments
Moroccan architecture always mystifies with it’s intricate geometric shapes. Whether it’s the detailed floor tiling that was set by hand, or the amazing patterns created by the repetition of shapes in the building.
Other moving arabesque structures are the beautiful Jalis in Indian palaces. They also have a certain allure, and that comes from the meticulous work that has gone into them.
Traditional arabesque architecture and the craftsmanship that has gone into these magnificent structures has influenced us at ecru. This has led to the production of the Geo Flow Print table mat and napkin, so your mind kind wander to Morocco and dream of Mughal India.
(Images courtesy of Wikipedia, Pintrest, & ecru)
The Chai Walla's cousin ... February 22 2013, 0 Comments
At 6.00 am this morning my eyes shot open.
4 days left before I travel and I can physically feel the time tick.
I've grown accustomed to this feeling - of being completely out of breath as the future of the World depends on whether you manage to meet all your suppliers in time.
I hit my first wall when I approached the printing workshop and realized that I could not hear the calming thumping of blocks being chiseled.
The ten different radios were not simultaneously blaring Bollywood music.
The smell of chai being brewed - absent.
I could feel my temperature rise and my eyes widen. Trying to remain as composed as I could I began lightly in my bizarre mix of hindi-english:
'Bhaaiiiiiiiiiiiiisssaaaaabbbbbbbbbbbbbb, why, why, why!!!! Mausam bhaud Acha!! Storm is gone!! Whyyyy????!!' Forehead permanently crinkled.
We had experienced a bizarre storm a few days before which halted all printing due to pigments reaction to moisture.
A group of some ten out of twenty printers were chatting away by their tables.
'No work today, Chai Walla's cousin expired '.
My initial reaction was of complete confusion. Why would an entire factory stop working for the death of someone with whom they never met.
Some of the artisans don't even know the Chai Walla by his first name.
I looked at them blankly, got into the car and drove back to my office. I couldn't argue with death.
I was now REALLY starting to stress.
When I entered my office I realized that the cleaning lady wasn't there. I looked to my phone to read
'SORRY!! NEIGHBOR'S SHADI. OFF WORK FOR THREE DAYS. HAVE TO GO TO VILLAGE'
If it wasn't a funeral, it was a wedding. Plus I thought that we had reached the end of 'shadi' season, weddings were no longer taking place every two days.
I sat at my desk and started to lightly tap my forehead on the table. How could they work like this, how unprofessional.
People passed and married all the time !!
I continued, silently cursing the day away.
Until it dawned on me.
The Chai Walla is an integral part of the factory. His job is to serve lovingly made chai while he sings and teases all the artisans, around four times a day. And he does it well. Therefore his happiness is of the utmost importance and although they may not know his name, they will close up shop to show that his sadness means something to them. That they appreciate his untiring efforts to make them happy.
The cleaning lady works everyday to make sure that one day she could also throw an extravagant wedding for her children. This is something really important to her. Why shouldn't she spend three days enduring the happiness and stress of her neighbor's important accomplishment.
I couldn't help but suddenly feel that I was the one who maybe had it all wrong ...
So here is a little tribute to our Chai Walla's cousin.
(Photos courtesy of ecru)
Our Printing Process January 15 2013, 0 Comments
The thing that gets me the most excited when I first look at a textile, isn't the way it feels, isn't the brightness of its color or the sheen of its weave. It's the process behind it. Technique has always been an obsession of mine, and the technique of block printing is a fabulous one.
Every aspect of block printing is beautiful. From the wood block itself, which is meticulously chiseled, by an artisan who has been trained for years to prefect his craft. To the swatches of jute used to hold the pigments on which the blocks are stamped.
And what I love about block printing is it's lack of pretentiousness. It does not scream of the amount of work that is put into it's production.
Here's a little bit about the technique:
Blocks are made in a series, each block represents one color, the more colors in a print, the more blocks are made.
Once blocks are chiseled, and the pigments for a print are made and ready, a different set of artisans (the stampers) take control of the process. The stampers use the chiseled blogs to gently tap onto swatches of jute fabric which hold their respective colors. The drenched block is then tapped on the chosen, stretched fabric, until it dries.
The pressure of the tap while printing has to be of such a perfect mix of firm lightness, that it is enough evidence to differentiate an experienced stamper from another.
In a block printing workshop there can be up to two dozen stampers, each can produce a different looking fabric, even if using the same print and color, solely based on their tap.
The outcome of a block printed fabric depends on every person involved in it's making - from the designer to the block printer to the stamper. The look of a fabric can change based on any of these person's styles or moods. It is a highly sensitive process.
The perfect block printing quality is when one cannot tell where the print begins, and where it ends.
It is a beautiful technique of printing, we hope you love it as much as we do, as there are a lot of exciting prints coming your way.
Love from Jaipur,
*(images courtesy of Alfred Tarazi)