It’s a 24-hour flight from California to New Delhi, not including the layover in Tokyo. I’m getting ready for a month of travel, focused mostly on the India State of Gujarat, with my Canadian friend Fay Sims, leaving San Jose on November 15.
My motivation to go to India is multi-fold:
- to experience first-hand indigo dye history, artisanry and textiles
- to visit my first cousin, Odissi dancer Sharon Lowen, who has lived in New Delhi, India for 43-years after leaving the USA on a Fulbright
- to embrace my 99-1/2 year old aunt, my mother’s younger sister, who now lives with my cousin
- to reconnect with friends, textile artist Nidhi Khurana and her painter-muralist husband Ruchin Soni
- to compare and contrast the textiles of Oaxaca and Gujarat
- to write and photograph the processes and people
- to get yards of hand-spun cotton Khadi cloth, Ghandi’s symbol of India’s independence from England
- to discover who knows what else!
My friend, master weaver Federico Chavez Sosa, asked me to bring him back a chunk of native India indigo to experiment with. My friend, master weaver Alfredo Hernandez Orozco, asked me to bring him any type of native India fiber to experiment with on his flying shuttle loom. They are innovators.
I am going with one empty suitcase, the second half-full.
What advice do you have for me on the quest for India textiles with natural dyes in New Delhi, Gujarat state and Mumbai?
Example of indigo block print from India, on cotton and silk cloth.