India is home to a large number of tribes with a total population of about 70 million. Each tribal community is rich in its own culture, costume, folk stories and artistic expression.
The crafts of India have been valued throughout time and much effort has been made by governments and patrons to preserve this wealth of material culture. Despite these efforts, rising costs of materials and supplies have placed many of these craft communities in financial struggle and decline.
At KASU EMPORIUM, we continue to source tribal and traditional crafts where the artisans are paid fairly. The modest collection in store now includes beautiful tribal work from different states of India: Dhokra bronze artefacts and jewelery from Orissa and West Bengal, embroidered shawls from West Bengal, Kantha stitched vintage textiles from villages in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, repurposed embroidered costumes made into bags from Western Gujarat and Madhubani paintings from Bihar.
Dhokra bronze antique lock in the shape of Hanuman
We are happy to announce that our gorgeous bags made from recycled tribal textiles have finally arrived!
If you remember the 70s with a fondness for cheesecloth and embroidery, are an aging hippy, a nouveau hippy or just appreciate authentic tribal textiles: this is the real deal!
The ladies of western Gujarat, India, have a long tradition of embellishing their clothes with fine stitchery and mirror work. After the costume is no longer usable, the textiles are still highly valued as they have taken years to create, so they are recycled into new creations like these great little bags we have in store.
Our RetroGlam necklaces, made by moi, Beverley Bloxham, are made from no ordinary buttons and buckles. These babies have kept themselves nice down through the ages (well, from the mid 20th century), dodging the needle and thread, sidestepping cardies and coats, frocks and all manner of frippery to arrive clean and virginal in my button box. Maintaining their roots, they sport their vintage credentials in the pastel palette and strong geometric designs.
Pashmina fibre was originally designed to keep baby cashmere goats warm in the Himalayas.
The Changthangi or Pashmina goat is a breed of goat from Tibet or neighbouring areas in the Ladakhi Changthang, usually raised for meat or cashmere wool – known as pashmina once woven.
These goats grow a thick, warm fleece. They survive on grass in Ladakh, where temperatures plunge to as low as −20 °C . These goats provide the wool for Kashmir’s famous Pashmina shawls.
Note: the word ‘pashmina’ has been purloined by some manufacturers to describe any long scarf or shawl in any fibre including synthetics. This can be very confusing to buyers. True pashmina is the fibre from the young Changthangi or Pashmina goat.
Wash your precious pashmina product the same way you would your own hair: a gentle handwash in warm water and shampoo. To dry, squeeze dry inside a towel and dry flat in shade.
Rajasthan in western India is well known for many things, block printed fabrics being one of them. In my research for fair trade goods, I had found a small organisation in Bagru village outside Jaipur, where the artisans are paid very well, are shareholders and receive annual dividends. I made contact with them before I left Australia and was very eager to meet the block carvers, dyers and printers at work. Bagru is known for natural dyes and hand block printing and the Chippa community there has been block printing for 350 years, developing a unique process of printing with natural vegetable dyes. Getting to Bagru village was a bit of a drama, but so worth it in the end. I had made enquiries about local buses that would take me there from Jaipur, but I had managed to get to the wrong bus stop and wasted some time for a bus that would never come. Continue reading →
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To celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day, we have borrowed from some of the world’s greatest lovers to share with your beloved.
The Dalai Lama advises “Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay” while Lao Tzu says “Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.”