Specially and thoughtfully selected for organic consumers

Well you don't have to necessarily wait for that next trip to India or wish you had an opportunity to shop in India if you have never been there! And what's more! If you are the type who cares for the environment and want to contribute to environmentally sustainable commerce, you are in the right blog!
Presenting "Made in India" products for a greener world!

Here are a few quality, handcrafted and handloom products from rural India mostly made from natural materials- cotton, silk, wood and coloured with vegetable/fruit based dyes.

When you buy these products you support fair trade and also help those rural artisans preserve those centuries of handed down traditions of handwork and skills. Not only do we help them generate income, but also sustain these traditions of handwork that's really part of their culture.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


History of Kalamkari in Sri Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh
To view the video to see the artisans at work click here

on_the_wall_at_Muralis.jpgKalamkari refers to a method of painting natural dyes onto cotton or silk fabric with a bamboo pen or kalam. The name kalamkari translates as pen (kalam) work (kari) in Hindi/Urdu, and was most likely derived from trade relationships between Persian and Indian merchants as early as the 10th century CE.

European merchants also had names for this type of fabric decoration: the Portugese called it pintado, the Dutch used the name sitz, and the British preferred chintz.
trade_map.jpgMerchants and traders from around the world used Indian textiles, the majority of which were kalamkari, as a currency in the Spice Trade. European and East Asian markets demanded spices like nutmeg, clove, and pepper as well as aromatic woods and oils, which were available almost exclusively in parts of Southeast Asia and Indonesia. The Southeast Asian and Indonesian markets, on the other hand, demanded Indian textiles particularly for ritual and ceremonial use. Thus a triangular trading system was established that implicated Indian textiles in a larger global exchange of goods and products. As time went on, Indian textiles were seen as luxury items in themselves, and a variety of textiles and textile-related products were sold to merchants throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Relationships between India and parts of Europe through this exchange of textiles ultimately led to the imperialistic agenda of the British Empire through colonialism.

krishna_reddy_sketching.jpgThe main artist families involved in kalamkari during the 19th century were members of the Balaji jati, aLink community traditionally involved in agricultural work and small industry. Today, there are over 300 individuals in and around Sri Kalahasti involved in some aspect of kalamkari work, from preparing cloth and dyes, to design motifs and format layout, to final painting and execution. Around the middle of the 20th century, the popularity of kalamkari in Sri Kalahasti waned to the point of near disappearance, with most artists focusing on agricultural work and other local occupations. At this point, around the late 1950s, kalamkari received government attention and sponsorship, through the intervention of art activist, Kamaladevi Chattopadyaya.

drying_myro_treated_cloth.jpgIn 1957, Kamaladevi Chattopadyaya helped establish a government-run kalamkari training center that focused on teaching a new generation of artists the techniques and stylistic vocabulary of kalamkari. The ebb and flow of kalamkari popularity continues to plague the artistic community at Sri Kalahasti, however at the moment there is an upsurge in interest in the art form by designers, NGOs and entrepreneurs living and working in nearby cities. A range of products are now created using kalamkari cloth and are available for sale at craft exhibitions, small boutiques and from the artists directly. In addition to the traditional style narrative wall hangings artists also create hand painted saris, dupattas, personal items and home accessories.

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