Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Textile Inspiration

"Textiles are a language to express emotions and a way to embellish life, a way to create beauty and a link between humans." I love this quote by Arianne Dalle, the design director of French Fabric company called Manuel Canovas. This fabric company is featured in the May 2013 issue of Elle Decor. After I read this small article, I kept thinking about the meaning of this quotation. It is so true. If there are no textiles and fabrics what would we wear, how would we make our beds, cover our pillows, and all windows would be bare. Life would be so ugly without fabrics, don't you think? The other reason I could not get this little article out of my mind was because Arianne Dalle says that she draws much of the inspiration for her fabrics from India. In fact, the founder of the company Manuel Canovas also used to draw inspiration from India. "One of Canovas's favorite destinations was India, the article says. And this is what Ariane Dalle says about India. "Everything is inspiring there; the people, the streets, the gardens." "They have maintained the savoir faire of 18th century embroidery and they have an extraordinary, intuitive sense of color." India is the inspiration for their 2013 collection. "India is always an enriching voyage." Having grown up in India I cannot look at India like a tourist, because it is my first home. But what she says about India's textile heritage is really, really true. When I was a little girl I used to go shopping with my mom to the big saree showrooms. Each showroom is huge, like a magical land filled with vibrant colors, patterns, textures of fabrics, sarees, ready-made clothes etc. While my mom chose her sarees, I feasted my eyes on all the fabrics. Fabrics lined the walls, and fabrics were piled up on tables for customers to touch, and feel. After my education, I worked as a sub-editor at a newsagency in New Delhi, (which is far away from Kerala where I grew up and with a completely different culture and language). Soon after, I got married and so we were in New Delhi for the first five years after our marriage, before coming to the US. The textile scene in New Delhi is even more amazing. New Delhi is a huge sprawling city and each residential area has its own market. Within the markets, there are areas that concentrate on fabrics alone. They are tiny little shops, but piled till the roof with fabrics. If you have time and patience to search, you can find pieces and colors of incredible beauty. In fact, each of India's 25 states has its own unique and distinct ancient tradition of design, color, looming technique, fabric etc. I wish I knew more about it. There are so many women entrepreneurs designing fabrics, using ethnic prints and interpreting them in a modern way. Sometimes I wish I can be one of them. Sometimes I want to make table runners, bed skirts, pillow covers, place mats, slip covers, duvet covers etc with fabric patterns inspired by the colors and patterns of India. Those colors and patterns are comforting in some way. Also, if you want to start a fabric line of your own, it would be a good idea to travel to India and check out the textile scene in India in all of the 25 states simply because it would be very educational. All the images in this post are from pages 64 and 65 of the May 2013 issue of Elle Decor. Have a blessed day!

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