Organic. Heritage. Eco-Friendly.
Glasgow School of art graduate, Molly Russell lives in Jaipur and works along-side block-printers, indigo dyers, embroiderers and weavers overseeing the whole process from start to finish.
“India has such an immensely rich culture of craft forms I’m constantly finding new processes to work with. It’s so inspirational, my senses are alive and I find beauty everywhere but craft is dying out, we must do all we can to use and promote them.“
An embroidered dress takes three days to complete. Block-printing is a little quicker but we can only print during certain times of the year due to the weather. Only natural fibres including cotton, hand-loomed khadi cotton and silk are used. Each piece has been worked on by hand whether handspun, printed or embroidered. The hand-work brings life and a unique quality to the clothing.
Each Workshop has been vetted. The employees are treated with care and respect, working eight hour days with three breaks and earning more than double the minimum wage. Each has an open-door policy and Molly can visit whenever she likes. Molly is working with a women's centre to teach them skills so they can embroider the dresses earning money for themselves.
Block-printing is an ancient traditional craft unique to the Chhipa caste in Jaipur and surrounding areas. A design is drawn directly onto a slab of wood and the pattern etched out using a metal cutter. Some of the Indian motifs are amazingly intricate, reflecting the level of skill involved. Lengths of fabric are rolled out and pinned on long trestle tables, ready for printing. The woodblock is dipped into the colour tray, carefully applied to the fabric and then repeated. Each stroke requires extreme precision and requires a steady, practised eye to achieve uniformity. The colours are applied one at a time.