Travel

Williamsburg, Brooklyn… Hipster Calling!

Travel is a big part of my authentic life and it generally gives me a big creative, inspirational jolt. This time I’m taking you to NY and I will be blogging daily (no matter how many miles I have walked! and yes, i already have blisters and sores on day 1). What I love the most about NY is that can be a different experience every time. I always make it a point to find the eclectic neighborhoods that most tourists would skip. But then, I’m a traveler, not a tourist 😉

So, here goes…

Day 1:  Williamsburg, Brooklyn
If you don’t know about Williamsburg, it’s the biggest hipster mecca in the States. In one word… AWESOME! lol. I saw lots of bangs and LOTS of  wayfarers. While most shops don’t allow you to photograph, I did take some photos where they were permitted. Oh yes, and I did do some shopping (ok, too much maybe!).

I am staying in Bed-Stuy, the other end of Brooklyn, so I decided to walk all the way back. Where in dallas will i get to walk 2 miles with a heavy laptop & camera bag? Lol. But really, where in Texas would I get to see the neighborhoods so drastically change from one ethnic community to the other? It went from hipsters to hasidic jews to dominican to african to… it’s just fascinating to me.

And hence the blisters and sores.

Enjoy the pics!

hipsters-williamsburg

pier


A&G-Merch-brooklyn

brooklyn

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tropical-plants

american-apparel-brooklyn

catbird-shop

deer-dancing-wood-tray

artists & fleas williamsburg

 

Walk Through a Real Souq…

The last 2 days of my most recent textile adventure had me staying in Oman (a country in the Middle East, about 3 hours driving distance from Dubai), also happens to be where I grew up and went to school K-12. I wanted to capture the sights of a real souq… so come walk with me while I take you through a guided tour of Muttrah Souq, Oman’s most popular and only historical souq left inside the main city.

muscat-fort-oman

ships-in-oman

muttrah-souq

arabian-shopping

omani-clothing

henna

oman-souq

silver-in-oman

frankincense

The Ikat Process

Today we dived into one of my fav handmade processes — ikat dyeing! Ikat literally means to bind or tie. Ikat dyeing is very time consuming and requires patience and focus. But the result is amazing! While most Central Asian ikats are a max of 15-20 inches in width, our ikats crafted in India can go up to 60 inches in width and sometimes more! Are you ready to see our NORAH Grey Ikat fabric come to life?  Here’s a step by step of this amazing process (please note a couple of the steps shown have other fabrics because Norah was still being worked on in another phase). Here goes…

Bundle of yarn comes from the source and gets made into a cone shape. Then the cones become the fodder for this gigantic spinning wheel, which separates the yarn. The wheel can be loaded with a max of 25 meters.

weaving-yarn

spinning-yarn

Then the thread is straightened and the design is literally drawn on the yarn with pen. Motif measurements are made with a ruler. A lot of expert eye-balling is needed in this process!

stretching-the-yarn

drawing-ikat-design

Then comes my fav parts… the tying and the dyeing!!! They cut old bicycle tubes into little strips of rubber (nothing goes to waste in villages!) and those rubber strips get quickly tied over the pen-marked design.

ikat-process-tying-yard

Then the dye is prepared. In India two types of dyes are used in ikat; Napthol and VAT dyes. At KUFRI we only use VAT dyes which are AZO-free and colorfast (for the most part). The dye is literally cooked for an hour to “fix” the colours. Then the yarn is dipped and swished and whacked around to make it absorb the dyes throughout. Wherever the rubber bands are will resist the dye!

ikat-process-dyeing

If the fabric to be made has multiple colours, the entire process from the tying of the rubber bands to the dye mixing and swishing is done multiple times!

Once this dyeing process is over, the REAL design gets developed in the knotting process. This is super tedious and requires a fresh mind as it takes a lot of patience and focus. Essentially, EACH thread is counted to create the design. Notes are made in a book. The motif “repeat” is also created here.

ikat-process-knotting

Once the dyeing process is over, the fabric is dried and then the “warp design” (which is what we just did) and the “weft yarn” (generally a base natural colour yarn) is loaded on a handloom. The marriage of this warp ikat design and weft thread is what makes the fabric into a woven fabric. While the warp design can be bright and bold, the light colour weft thread makes it more subtle and sober, which is a look we love at KUFRI.

ikat-process-adding-weft-thread

Since our grey ikat fabric Norah was still stuck in another phase, we weren’t able to document the last few stages, but just so you know, this is what it will end up being!

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norah-grey-ikat

Our Norah Grey ikat was sold out pretty quick, so this is our second weaving for it. This is now available in 54″ and is perfect for home furnishings and apparel.

I can’t finish this post without posting this adorable pic of the ikat ladies…
ikat-in-india

Ikat is a craft practiced over generations in some Indian villages. They are slowly disappearing due to super power looms that can produce hundreds of yards in no time. I hope you have enjoyed this post!

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