Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back in India

We are back in India after a 10 week absence.

Delhi was very cold this January...Our usual routine here includes a hotel with the Tibetans in Majnu Katila, picking up supplies at the various markets, visiting printers and designers, chai or lunch with friends and providers, maybe a visit to the Handicraft Museum, or an arts and crafts exhibition, and then the dreaded overnight bus ride to Manali.......

We love the markets here, esp. the tiny back alleys, if your legs are strong, you are not in a hurry, and can handle the constant over-stimulation of all of your senses, you can find almost everything.....Our mission this time is clear mordants and natural dyes....will we succeed or fail?

As always, my first call is to Suresh. He has been our Delhi Taxi Walla for the past four years.  He has also been our dear friend and a dependable collaborator in many of our projects. If you are ever in Delhi and need a driver or a guide, here is your man (sipping a latte this time).

I have made some preliminary inquiries and no one is aware of any natural dye suppliers in Delhi. Of course, I am stubborn and have to prove it myself, so we head-out to the chemical market. Our first stop is a vat dye wholesaler. He knows of no suppliers in Delhi, but has a friend, a retired chemistry professor from Agra University and natural dyes seems to be one of his areas of expertise. Within seconds, I am on the phone with Prof. Aggarwal, and yes there is an ayurvedic supplier few hundreds yards away who also deals in some natural dyes. Oh the magic of India, today it is in the air....

We pass a few hours talking, looking at dried plants and drinking chai with Mr. Naresh. He can provide us with about 20 different dyes. I am halfway there. We pay for our samples, pick up the mordants and head back to the car.

At the end of the day I am exhausted, but so happy. Over the years Dominique and I spent days or even weeks looking for a certain fiber, material, technique or artisan. On many of those occasions we came out empty handed and discouraged, but than there are days like today when India opens her warm heart and unveils a few more rays of its brilliant beauty....

1 comment:

  1. Nice post...I look forward to reading more, and getting a more active part in the talks here, whilst picking up some knowledge as well..

    Dyes And Pigments Importers In Delhi