Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mandvi, Gujarat - Household Textiles

In early April we found ourselves in Mandvi. We hadn't planned to visit but it kept on coming up in conversation with local people as a good place to go to. We were quite pleased with ourselves as we got there from Bhuj on a local bus which we organised by ourselves without the help of friendly staff from wherever we were staying, which was how we had been organising our transport up until then. All the signs at the bus station were in Gujarati script and we couldn't find any English speakers - Virginia got it all sorted and put us on the right bus.

Mandvi is a delightful place and as it is not on the main tourist route there was no hassle. As with virtually everywhere we visited in India everyone was kind, courteous and helpful. The town had everything that we could want- beaches, bazaars, medieval gates and walls, lovely food, a palace, shipbuilding (magnificent - I will have to intrude it into this weaving blog), tie dying and weaving.

We stayed at the excellent Rukmavati Guest House. It was quite hot so we usually spent the afternoons there having a nap, chatting or reading. I found some of the household textiles quite interesting. I had my pick glass with me so I spent a couple of happy hot afternoons looking at them in detail. I had bought myself a book of graph paper in Bhuj so I was able to attempt  to record my interpretations of these fabrics. Our host was a  bit concerned at first as I rifled through his linen cupboard until I explained what I was doing. I think that he thought that I might be mad!

Cotton Blanket
This was not a particularly remarkable piece but I was very taken with the subtle shift in the weft colours. My photographs does not do it justice - something similar in mercerized cotton might be most effective. I ended up wearing it at times.

Cotton Hand Towel
The analysis of this was quite tricky because the threads kept shifting as I tried to determine which one was going over and which one was going under. The colours had faded so much that it was difficult to work out the sequence so the one shown below is part guess work as the pink and white were virtually indistinguishable.

This pattern was lurking under a synthetic cover that had been put on the cushion. It was torn and I spied the pattern through the hole. For some reason that I can't fathom I didn't take a photo of it.

All of these drafts can be done on a straight 24. I have never woven anything substantial in cotton so perhaps this can be my next project after I done enough wool scarves to keep family members happy.

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