Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Volunteer

Going to lend a hand at a sales event for Build a Nest. They are a nonprofit organization that supports female artisans from around the world. The event is taking place at Shecky's. Visit www.buildanest.com to see how you can do your part.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thank you for your support at the Creek

A great day with old and new friends at The Creek and Cave in Long Island City.  Thank you to Helen Ho and Karen Overton for hosting the Queens Green Drinks event at the Creek and Cave along with a craft fair. We had a great day making new friends and bringing our products to the public.

We premiered our company ICHCHA, wish, featuring our jewelry and home textile line. We are happy that everyone appreciated our products and helped with our cause. Thanks to the customers, 60% of the  proceeds from the jewelry line that included the Lucky seeds from Peru will be going towards assisting the mentally and physically challenged children of Anjo Gabrielle in Peru. To read up more on this charitable effort, you can click on blog to be led to my sister, Rachna Kumar's blog.



Lucky red seeds from the Anjo Gabrielle jewelry line

Hand block printed textiles using natural dyes

Our website is currently under construction but feel free to email us at info@ich-cha.com if you are interested in our products. We would love to hear your comments on our products and hope you are enjoying them as much as we enjoyed making them.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

CRAFTED AT THE CREEK

 Hi everyone, the details for the Craft at the Creek are out. Join us on December 11 from 1-5 pm in Long Island City. See you there!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wow

So, one website led to another and I came across two great inspirations. One is the blog by Vineeta Nair, called Artnlight. It has great write ups about designers and designs of India. So, once I signed up for updates on her website, I received an email about Mora Collection. I was stunned by the collection featured, the colors, the patterns. It's like nothing I've seen before and it seemed to raise the confidence in me, that different can work.





Follow the links to their appropriate sights and let me know if you feel as blown away by them as me. Here are a few images from the Mora website. Simply Amazing. The images on my website don't do justice, follow the link to see them in their appropriate setting.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Likes at One of a Kind Show

So I went to the One of a Kind show this Saturday, November 20 in New York City. It was just one floor of designers with their handcrafted products. After wandering the markets of London, I was a bit disappointed as to the creativity level featured in New York. However, a few did catch my eye and I picked up their business cards. Here is the list:

La Muse Kalliope - handcrafted characters. Follow the link to her Etsy shop. I wish I had more visuals, because that is what attracted me to her stall.

 Monkey Chow - illustrations, art, and design. Link leads to their etsy shop as well.

The Intuitive Garden - Handmade Wearable Art
Designs by Candace Mangin-Barnes
Loved her jewelry!

F. Rock - sustainable carryalls for men
Amazing shape, fabrics, look of bags for men made from reclaimed fabrics! Totally sustainable! Say what?

Chikahisa Studio - handcrafted jewelry
This little piece is the Happy Buddha Sapphire - I couldn't stop looking at it, wishing it was mine. 

Anyways, I hope you enjoy these few finds.

In other news, my sister and I will be featuring a few products from our upcoming collection at the Queens Green Drink event in Long Island City on December 11, 2010. I will upload more info on the event in the coming week along with a preview of what we have to offer. Leave a note if you are able to attend. More info if you follow the link: http://www.greendrinks.org/index.php?country=USA&city=Queens. Also, you can find them on facebook: facebook.com/queens.drinks.

Till later!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chelsea College of Art and Design

The website for the 2010 MA Textile Design graduates at the Chelsea College of Art and Design is up. Follow the link http://chelseamatextiles.com/2010-2/ruchika-kumar.
Leave a comment if you are interested in any of the works or email the appropriate person for more info.

Below are a few more pictures of the work in progress. I'll be uploading more images of final fabrics produced for those who are interested in purchasing.  



Monday, November 15, 2010

Inspiration

Inspiring images and color from pottery displayed at a museum in Jaipur
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Also a link to an article by Elaine Lipson in the Handeye magazine. Follow the link for a great write up about Slow cloth and the ideal behind the slow design movement. http://www.handeyemagazine.com/content/slow-cloth

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Finds

The following were amazing finds on the internet. The first is Kantha Threads, by a woman in Bangladesh. Follow the link to an in-depth detail of her life and how she has inspired and supported women in their life through these threads. Her work is quite inspiration and very impressive.
"Holud" http://kanthathreads.com/

"reflection" http://kanthathreads.com/


Second, is a magazine called HandEye. This website brings the stories of craftsmen and women from around the world into our homes. It's a great way to know about different organizations, artists, and crafts. If you have the time, go through some of the articles, I've come across some great finds. Enjoy!

http://handeyemagazine.com/

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I no longer wish for that Cheeseburger



Just finished reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I had attempted it awhile back but couldn't get interested. However, after being introduced to how un-sustainable we are leading our lives this year, I turned back to this book to see what it had in store. My sister, THE ENVIRONMENTALIST, is laughing her head off right now, now that she has finally converted her youngest to the cult of eco-friendly, sustainable, and anti-consumerism. However, she also regrets making me into the monster I have now become. :)

The book was very interesting, not necessarily biased, it tried to lay out the facts, which unfortunately were leaning towards one side. The side that big corporations have and are going to great lengths to get the consumer to buy buy buy and eat eat eat, in large proportions without consideration for the humans involved, environment exploited, or the future sacrificed. The read might be a little strong at times, because of the details of the injuries suffered by workers at meatpacking factories. I got a little queasy myself. However, we do need to be aware of where our food comes from and who it affects. The book gives you a good review of how it all started, how we have come to the position we are at now and also offers a means to resolve this problem. This can be and should be related to my post about The Story of Stuff, which gives a good explanation of how change is slow in happening in governments.

Anyways, this was a very serious post, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. We read, we learn, and move on with a better judgment about how to lead life. On that note, enjoy the video below.

video

Monday, November 8, 2010

Trade Fairs

Thinking of attending the ONE OF A KIND SHOW, 2010, in New York. To get a feel of the products that are out there and the artists that are on the same path of a handmade lifestyle.

See the link: http://www.oneofakindshowny.com/

It gives consumers to shop for one of a kind, hand made products directly from the artisan. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students, and free for children under 12 years of age.

It's taking place on the following dates:

November 11-14 and
November 18-21, 2010
 

Location: Midtown at 7 W 34th St. at 5th Ave.
Directly across from the Empire State Building

Drop a comment if you'll be attending!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trip to Block Printing community in India


I should have posted these pics up sooner but I just didn't get the chance. I was busy trying to get results from the natural dye block printing I had learnt in India.

This is how the story goes. So, fortunately, I was able to meet Dipali Patwa, a textile designer and founder of MasalaBabyNyc, http://www.masalababynyc.com, adorable adorable children's clothing based on Indian aesthetics.  She connected me with Fabindia. Fabindia is a leading retailer in India that works with various craft communities in India, bringing development through employment to their communities.
 Check out the link for their website: http://www.fabindia.com/

Once in India, I was sent to Pipar City, a town an hour away from the city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Not knowing what to expect, I was quite nervous but after reaching the house of Chhipa Yasin Shahbuddin, all my nerves were put to rest. I was given a room in their house and the family was very warm and welcoming. Yasin Bhai (brother Yasin) lives with his wife and two children, with two adjoining bungalows for his two brothers, Farouq Bhai and Ilyaas Bhai. Both brothers live in their houses with their wives and children.

Without a minute to waste, I was taken to their block printing factory a few blocks from their house. 
Upon entering the factory, I was immediately in love with the atmosphere, the people, the work. I could not believe I was actually there, having the opportunity to learn amongst the block printers. Yasin Bhai and his brothers welcomed me into their homes and their work spaces without holding back anything. They took me around on rounds day after day, I learned how to achieve various color results using alum and iron printing. I spent time over boiling hot water, watching fabrics seep color from various flowers. They also didn't spare me from the physical labour. I washed my own samples in the 2 feet deep wells, amongst the other workers in the factory. The final day I was initiated into making the dabu paste, which is a mud paste that is kneaded with your feet for an hour. I was encouraged to step into the 2 feet deep well, with mud rising up my legs, stepping hard to get all the mud mixed in thoroughly. They had a blast making me do this. :) 
dyeing fabric in dhavri ka phool, mahi, and alizarine

Ilyaas bhai at the indigo vat

washing fabric

Yasin Bhai in the middle

Farouq Bhai laughing while I step on the dabu paste


It was hard leaving the factory after becoming attached to the workers and the Shahabuddin family. Not enough can be said about their warm hospitality. I am currently working on details for another trip to the Shahabuddin factory early next year. I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

MA Textile Design Exhibition 2010

Images from the 2010 MA Textile Design Exhibition at Chelsea College of Art and Design, UAL. The following is a result of hard work and sweat. The collection is based on our visuals of daily life, bringing awareness to the ordinary through extraordinary techniques. The colors are attained through flowers, leaves, and barks, each gaining a personality of it's own and with a story of its own. The fabric's range from new to reclaimed fabrics that needed to continue living their life with a new meaning.

The result of the show was self-satisfaction. After a year long effort to create my own standing and to prove that we can, even as a technologically advanced society, slow down and pay homage to the natural world around us. The patterns speak of pillars, architecture, and nature that surrounds us on our daily wanderings. We don't seem to notice them usually but through the fabrics, I wanted to give the viewer that special preview into what they might have missed on their walk over. The love given to each of the fabric was my way of slowing down and being aware of what each object in our life goes through before it makes it into our living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchen tables. The appreciation gained for time was priceless. The love for fabric created by nature and colored by nature grew immensely. I just hope now we can do justice to these fabrics and give them a home that will truly appreciate them.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May - The Experimenting begins again

After coming back from India, I've been working on getting similar results on my block printed fabrics. It's coming along well, with great mistakes! All I need to say is, Sodium bi-carbonate is not the same thing as Sodium Carbonate.
Here are a few pics of the samples taken by the very talented Amar Abdel -Halim.

These samples are of linen fabric gotten from TRAID, London. The fabric was accumulating dust with no buyers, hence it was donated for my project. Lugging it across London was fun, after changing 3 buses and Vedika holding onto the other end of the roll.

The fabric was washed and left overnight in a bath of detergent and soda ash. Next it was dipped in a solution of Harde or myrobalan so that it may produce a better color at the end. Once dried, it was printed on with a mixture of Alum and Tamarind Seed powder. Once dried, it was dipped in a dye bath of Dhavri ka phool, mahi, and Alizarine. Dhavri ka phool and mahi are indian names for different flowers. Alizarine is the synthetic form of madder. The combination of these three gave our fabric a coral coloration, however, we were attempting for Red. After further research, I found out that the PH of the level, if it is too acidic will produce coral colors and hence needs to be neutral to produce the right color. So, the solution to that is adding soda ash to bring the fabric to a neutral PH. With a dash of soda ash, the result was closer to what we wanted. We had gotten a good dark red. The ground however became purple...So the experiment is ongoing.
The darker fabric was first dipped in Iron water before being dipped in the dye bath, hence it has a darker coloration.

Pics of the block in order of development:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 3

White Flour.
I boiled white flour for about half hour mixing water into it. It smelled like dough. :)
There were lots of chunks in it, not fully smooth. Maybe it needed to be blended with a blender to get all the chunks out. But the consistency was quiet thin and with that the print came out more consistent as opposed to blotchy with the indalca. I even tried the indalca thinned out, but the color didn't transfer from that.It printed a light color. The Henna printed darker than the Rosewood. But all in all, it was an interesting day.
I liked the print on the silk the most when it was wet. Obviously when it got dry, it wasn't as contrasty but it was still visible and the fabric is somewhat stiff since we have not mordanted any of the fabrics.
Here are the pictures.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February 9, 2010

This is day two of our natural dye experiment. I don't know what to say.
February 8, 2010:
We started with boiling St. John's Toad and Rose wood. We boiled for an hour, and then left it overnight. Amar printed a little with pigment.


February 9, 2010.
I put the St. John's Toad and Rose wood back on the burner for about 1 hour more. It reduced in quantity to about half of what we had started out with.
In the meantime we boiled two tbsp henna for 15-20 minutes, then mixed that with already mixed indalca. We did not strain the henna, so it was grainy when we printed with it.






Next we mixed our own indalca and made two batches. One plain Indalca, and second was with henna and indalca. The Indalca mixture was more thicker this time. We were trying to see what quantity was good for printing with. Something that could be applied to our ink bed easily and picked up smoothly by the blocks.
Result of henna + indalca: It was not grainy but instead botchy. The already mixed indalca produced a better finish.
Results of Indalca: After printing with plain indalca which was to act as a resist when we dye it. We dyed in chemical dye just to see quick results. We dyed it a bright blue just so we could see the contrast of the resisted white cotton against the blue dye. Success. It looks like batik. I am happy.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dye Workshop

February 6, 2010 - Vauxhall City Farm.

I attended a dye workshop with Amar, where we got to learn informally about the natural dye process. It made a little bit more sense seeing it as opposed to just reading about it in books. We dyed wool yarn in Weld, Tansy, and Golden Rod.

First we put our yarn in a mordant, alum, which can be found in local supermarkets. We simmered the yarn in boiling mordant water for 45 minutes. This can also be done overnight in cold water and alum. After the mordanting process, we put the yarns in three different dye baths. Those were then simmered for 30 minutes. The results of those were:
1. weld - bright yellow
2. tansy - yellow green
3. golden rod - orange yellow.

Overall a good experience. Can't wait to try it ourselves in the dye workshop in the college. Don't know how successful we will be because we have to make a concentrate of the dyes. As in, take the dried marigold and boil and simmer it for 1 - 2 hours to get a concentrate before thickening it will indalca or manutex, a seaweed thickener.