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Blog — Tales

ecru's inspiration and a look behind the scene of how we make our products

Pearl Diving

On a recent deep dive into pearl diving, I discovered amazing facts about this magnificent profession.  Pearl diving historically can be found all over the world.  In the Americas, there is historical evidence of Native Americans harvesting freshwater pearls from rivers in Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee.  Marine pearls came from the Ceribian and the coasts of Central and South America.  As for Asia, pearl diving can be found practiced in the Arabian Gulf, India, Sri Lanka, the Philipines, and Japan.   There is archeological evidence from 6000-5000 BC that proves that life in the Arabian Gulf revolved around the natural pearl.  The Epic of Gilgamesh, a poem from 700 BC Mesopotamia that is among the first recorded examples of literary fiction.  The...
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Magic Mashru

Growing up in the Levant I was exposed to the beautiful fabric called ‘sayee’. A bright multicolored, striped fabric with a singular sheen, woven from a blend of cotton and silk, both matt but shiny, difficult to describe. It could be found in every self-respecting Levantine household. My mother had ‘dishdashas’ made from it. It was used for about everything, ranging from furniture upholstery, curtains, cushion covers, quilt covers, book covers to tissue boxes. If you could cover it, you did it with ‘sayee’! I was also lucky to visit Syria often, almost on an annual basis. My parents and godmother were interested by handicrafts. I was exposed to many of Syria’s talented artisans, including to the incredible ‘sayee’ weavers....
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Indigo, Kutch

Kutch is like no other place I’ve ever seen. Kutch means something which becomes intermittently wet and dry. It's a vast area comprised of hundreds of nomadic tribes who each have their own aesthetic culture and tribal regulation. Kutch existed for centuries on barter systems. Shepherds would give wool to weavers, who in return would weave them in return for extra wool. The area was devastated by a catastrophic earthquake in 2001 that scars it till today. Yet, the people of Kutch have only emerged stronger from the calamity. An array of Indian nonprofit organizations covered the region doing exceptional work to rejuvenate trade and empower the artisans of Kutch.  The artisans weave absolutely every imaginable type of textile, using...
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Desert Chic

25 Miles into the Desert is a collection inspired by Gertrude Bell and her love for the Middle East and its dessert.  As a free spirit of the early twentieth century, Bell's love for travel and adventure was encapsulated by the bohemian lifestyle of the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Caftans were very popular at the time, and designers experimented with both shapes and colors.  It is fascinating how history constantly influences future generations in different ways.   Hussah   
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Khadi, Ahmadabad 

Khadi weaving is a government-subsidized industry created by Mahatma Gandhi in the 1920s. As part of the struggle for independence, Gandhi ji encouraged khadi cotton spinning and weaving to support self-sustainability throughout India. Today every main city has a khadi center, which purchases textiles from weavers all over India and sells it at a subsidized rate.  Khadi is a wonderful and versatile cotton cloth, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Its handloom weave feel gives it charm and it becomes softer after every washing.  The khadi center, we visited, was an old and sleepy one. The basements were large. You had to make your way through corridors with piles of neatly stored fabrics. What would normally have...
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Jamdani, Phulia

Phulia is located in West Bengal, a few hours drive from Kolkata. It’s a village of weavers who weave almost any type of handloom plain fabrics but specialize in the most intricate jacquard and jamdani textiles. Their meticulous weaving techniques produce feather-light enchanting fabrics, that are soft to the touch and discreetly ornamented.  In the 18th century the French weaver, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, developed the Jacquard programmable loom, a mechanical loom that works on a system of punched cards that compose intricate patterns and in modern times inspired computer coding. Then you have another technique, Jamdani-  blew my mind as it results in some of the most regal textiles I have ever come across. The design process which involves no mechanical...
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Gertrude Bell

I have always been drawn to the story of Gertrude Bell. A woman who went against all odds, all forms of conformity. Driven by passion she found herself in the Middle East, learning Arabic and crossing the harsh deserts of Arabia by horse, accompanied solely by her trusted guardian Futouh. She was completely absorbed and enamored by the Arab culture, their sense of hospitality, their Worldliness, their warmth and wisdom. Sheikhs whose paths she would cross on her voyages fell for her charm and appreciated her sense of adventure. They trusted her, discussed the turbulence of the region with her in detail and respected that she would listen, intently, not trying to control or persuade them with her own political...
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One Big Family

Being from a Lebanese family, like many ex-pats in Kuwait, we were a single the parents and the kids. We didn’t have an extended family, it sounds sad, but it actually wasn’t. Thanks to my parents we had a huge family of friends. Many of their friends felt like our parents and grandparents. I felt this, particularly in Ramadan. Our house was not a Ramadani house. No one fasted or participated in the rituals. Yet, everyone, I grew up with celebrated every part of it. My strongest memory of Ramadan was having fetour (break of fast) at Noor’s aunt's house. The adults will be always chatting, and the kids would be sitting together. Her aunt would have a lot of...
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A Kid's Delight

Growing up I had the luxury of living five minutes away from both of my grandmothers. Ramadan was special because six days of the week we would have futoor (break of fast) at my paternal grandmother’s house. On Friday’s we would go to my maternal grandmothers for futoor.  Mama Hajya’s, how we called our paternal grandma, house was exciting because we would have tashriba every day. Tashriba is a local stew with soaked bread many households have it daily during Ramadan. Our tashriba is different because it's made with Iranian bread as opposed to irqaq bread.* Most Kuwaiti households make it with irqaq which is thin, Iranian bread is thick and doughy. I had amazing tashrib and an array of...
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Rangena

I don't remember exactly when was the first time I had Rangena but I do remember that when I had it, it blew my mind away.  I was around 11 or 12 years old, and could not stop eating it.  The next time I saw my grandmother I told her how much I loved Rangena. Proceeding to tell me "you should always surround yourself with the things that you love. I will teach you how to make Rangena". One afternoon I went to her large open kitchen with terrazzo tiles.  We started getting the ingredients for the recipe.   We had flour, cardamon, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  As she was toasting the ingredients a fragrant nutty scent came out.  She ordered me to get...
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