One of our major goals on this trip was to expand our network and connect with more artisans and associations working in the same space in India. Upon some research, The Stitching Project immediately stood out as a kindred spirit. They’re located outside of Pushkar, a small temple town on the edge of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, so this entailed a flight from Chennai to Jaipur where Fiona and Praveen, the brains behind The Stitching Project, were kind enough to pick us up.
On our way to Pushkar, we accompanied them on a quick stop at Kalpana Handmade Paper Industries, which makes incredible handmade paper out of cotton waste material, the ultimate in upcycling projects. A couple of hours and a flat tire later, we got dropped off at our hotel in Pushkar, only to be told that even though we had a confirmation on Booking.com, there were no rooms available due to “overbooking”. Well, something had to go awry on this trip, so there we had it. After a bit of wandering around and calls back and forth we ultimately found a clean, comfortable, family run place, which worked out just fine. As always, with India, we have to be prepared for any and all eventualities.
We spent half of the following day with The Stitching Project, and walked away very impressed and inspired. Fiona and Praveen have set up a self-sustaining project, employing local talent, working only with khadi and silk sourced in India, using natural dyes and traditional block printing techniques, to create innovative and creative clothing that incorporates indigenous Rajasthani embroidery. Their workspace is the stuff of dreams, airy, filled with light and their team brims with positive energy.
Once we got out of their hair, we spent the day exploring the sights and sounds of Pushkar, which has 52 gates leading down to a sacred lake that is said to have formed when one of the lotus petals of Lord Brahma fell to the Earth (go on, brush up on your Indian mythology). Our meanderings included many cups of chai, ginger lemon honey tea, Tibetan thukpa and wood fired pizzas. We’re seriously considering documenting our culinary adventures in India on a different journal titled “Instructions + Eats.”
As we head back to Chennai, our minds are buzzing with ideas and we can’t wait to see where we go next!