Thursday, 24 November 2011

Made in India

One of the things I have loved, and still love, about living in India is how alive so many craft traditions are. There's seemingly endless scope for having ideas, drawing up a design and bringing them to life. It's fascinating to walk through a bustling village, town or city and see people working away at their particular skill. I especially love how specialised people are- I am working with a man who only makes handmade boxes, another who exclusively supplies and hand finishes buttons, another who specialises only in screen printing...

But at times doing business in India can be incredibly frustrating. Such specialization means that lots and lots of different, separate teams are involved in making a pair of POPLIN pyjamas, and Indian craftspeople don't necessarily have a very straightforward attitude to timelines or commitments- it can make for some hair-tearing moments! There are lots of long-winded explanations, references to "cousin brothers", multiple phone calls on multiple mobile phones and plenty of haphazardly filed paperwork.

When I saw Jan Banning's series of phototgraphs (pictured here) of "Bureaucratics" in India, they really spoke to these frustrations. And yet, even as I look at them, I feel inspired by India. And I guess that's why I'm here, and why it's all worth it in the end...

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