We've compiled a list of reading suggestions to provide you with extra insight into some of the people and places we'll be visiting on our tour Classic India: Spectacular Forts, Magical Palaces and Artisanal Textiles (February 13-26, 2019). This is by no means an exhaustive list but just a handful of articles and books we've enjoyed recently.
Deborah Needleman's article The Ancient Art of Jaipur Block Printing, and What It Means to India describes the history of block-printing in Bagru, a town outside Jaipur where the Chippa caste has been practicing the craft for over three centuries. On our tour, we'll visit Bagru to participate in a block-printing workshop and we'll have a chance to walk through town to see artisans involved in the process, including dyers, printers and woodblock carvers. For an in-depth look at the whole process we also recommend The Kindcraft's excellent article.
Shivani Vora's article For Indian Weavers in Varanasi, Help for an Endangered Craft describes the history of weaving in Varanasi and highlights Loom to Luxury, which weaves silk for high-end international fashion labels such as Maiyet and The Row. We’ll visit a village outside Varanasi to meet Jitendra Kumar, the organization’s founder, who will introduce us to their weavers who weave on 19th-century jacquard looms with old punch-card technology.
There are several excellent books on Indian textiles but one of our recent favorites is the catalog for the V&A's 2015 exhibition The Fabric of India. The exhibition captured the richness of Indian textiles past and present and the catalog highlights some designers we'll visit on our tour, including Kashmir Loom and Brigitte Singh. We're also looking forward to reading Brigitte Singh: Printress of the Mughal Garden, which was just published in the US, and explores Brigitte Singh's remarkable life and career.
In her book Fashion India, author Phyllida Jay highlights several contemporary fashion designers whose work is textile-driven. These designers are committed to working with artisans from throughout India to reinvigorate age-old motifs and techniques. This book will get you excited to explore Indian fashion, a sample of which we'll see on a guided shopping experience with a buyer from India's leading fashion boutique Ogaan. Maggie Baxter's Unfolding: Contemporary Indian Textiles also highlights some designers we'll visit on our tour, including Péro and 11.11.
In 2017, Border & Fall launched The Sari Series: An Anthology of Drape, an extensive video documentation of the various regional styles of sari draping. We'll meet textile scholar Rta Kapur Chishti—one of the contributors to the project—who is considered the leading expert on saris and is the author of Saris: Tradition and Beyond. Border & Fall founder Malika Verma Kashyap, who conceived The Sari Series, was interviewed in The Kindcraft.