The last days of my trip to India were spent at the Srishti Welfare Center visiting the Aranya Natural Dye Unit. The Center is located in Munnar, Kerala, Southern India nestled in the midst of a tea plantation. I worked with the amazing artisans to help them create three new colors for their palette of natural dyes. It had been five years since my last visit – it was wonderful to see them – there was so much catching up to do!
I also brought back lots of beautiful scarves they had dyed and a few handmade journals from the paper making unit, Athulya.
The sale of the scarves and journals benefit both Srishti and Stories of Hope!
You can purchase these beautiful items on The Yarn Tree’s website:
Our first morning at Anwesha began with a colorful welcoming ceremony. There was tribal singing, drumming, dancing, smiles and laughter. We were adorned with red marks on our foreheads, blessed with special herbs, draped in marigold garlands and festive scarves! This truly set the tone for the rest of our visit.
This is my last morning in India – sunshine and blue skies welcome Diwali – the Festival of Lights!
Here in Kerala it is a one day festival – other parts of India celebrate for five days.
Fireworks and firecrackers, special tiny terra cotta cups are decorated and filled with oil and a wick then a lit to give a beautiful soft light to everything. People shop for gifts, new clothes, gold jewelry and special sweets!
Last night I attended an amazing Diwali party – I had never seen so many beautiful Saris in one place. Even some of the men wore more traditional Indian Garb. There was even a mini-flash mob doing Bollywood dances – they had practiced for a week and it was a great surprise for everyone.
Yesterday the artisans of Aranya and I made one more color and tried different over dyeing techniques on the silk scarves we had previously dyed. Can’t wait until I can once again upload pictures to show everyone their beautiful work.
I am so thankful for my time here and look forward to returning.
Rainy day in Munnar – worked at Aranya with the wonderful folks making color.
Today we worked on lovely silk scarves dyeing shades of soft purple and magenta using Lac and Cochineal. Tomorrow we will make those same colors on superior Pashmina. We will also try for a lavender. The dyers were so excited to create new colors with me and I am so happy to be working with them again.
It was so much fun to see all the new techniques they have learned – some of their own creation. They loved showing me what they were doing – shibori, dip dyeing, block printing, sewing and pressing and more was going on. Great color combinations – everything so beautiful!