Who would've known that Design*Sponge
would connect two graphic designers across the coasts with similar missions in India. After seeing that Kara Weaves
was started by a mother-daughter team passionate about keeping the craft of hand looming alive, I knew I needed to visit them. Chitra, (the daughter based in Boston) and I had a wonderful Skype chat about all the ins and outs of developing a well-designed product while sourcing ethically
. She knew my heart as a fellow graphic designer; we want to make a difference in this world with our creative abilities. Their great success is due to Grace Bonney
, the blogger of Design*Sponge. After their feature on her blog, things just took off. (Grace, if you're reading this…we would love to have a feature!) They have been featured in Vogue, Better Homes and Garden and now on Anthropologie's home goods site, Terrain. It just takes one to be the tipping point.
Chitra's mother, Indu heads the India side of things. Indu is an anthropologist by nature and was very passionate about keeping the art of the hand loom alive. So much so, she based her phD thesis on it. With the advent of the mechanized power looms and mass manufacturing, this craft is dying. Many of the young people don't want to take this profession due to the higher paying "office" jobs that the city provides. Sadly, this story was the same when we visited the glass blowers in Murano, Italy. Soon enough, these carefully crafted items will be relics in a museum and our children may not ever know what a handmade product is.
Bringing awareness of these items is something that matters. These handicrafts are a part of our culture and if we don't try to preserve them then we lose a bit of ourselves in that process.
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