Friday, 6 March 2009

Hello !

Pondicherry street office

For the last 2-3 weeks I managed to sneak out of my office and... went back to Tamil Nadu, India. I had a great time of course.

This time I managed to get a little closer to textile and jewellery craft people. This was possible thanks to the information found about Indian crafts on the CDs sold by the Craft Revival Trust. Thank you Lainie for the link !

I found my way to the wonderful Tribal Research Centre (TRC) in M Palada, near Ooty in the Nilgiri mountains. With a total tribal population of about 28,000, the Nilgiris is an important tribal district. You can read more about the tribes here. In the museum you can see many fascinating objects made of clay, wood and vegetals. Here are a few pictures relating to Toda embroidery, which is world famous.

Toda woman embroidering a Poothkuli shawl - Photo (c) TRC museum

Tribe scissors - Photo (c) TRC museum

Toda ancient shawl - Photo (c) TRC museum

Toda modern shawl with traditional flower motif bought in Ooty

If you are in the region, you can buy Toda embroidery in Ooty and there is also a recommended Woman's Cooperative in Kotagiri.


In Pondichery, I saw a patchwork exhibition at Aurodhan Art Gallery. The artist name is Vatika and he has a shop and guesthouse near the gallery, François Martin Street. I love the way he mixes printed textiles, embroidery and beads.

Vatika at work

Across the road there is a shop named Excellent Bengal Handicrafts specializing in fairtrade ecofriendly Kantha embroidery from Bengal. Ms Bharati Dhar, director, aims to save traditional arts of India, provide skills and jobs opportunities to under priviliged villagers and use natural, waste and recycled goods to manufacture simple and stunning products of a vast variety. She is trying to expand her work. If interested in helping her, she has a facebook page, her email address is


006 said...

Ah ! content de te revoir passer par la et de voir que tu as fais de belles choses !

"For the last 2-3 weeks I managed to sneak out of my office and... went back to Tamil Nadu, India."
ben voyons ! ça a l'air d'une simplicité pour toi !
bravo !


Hélène H said...

Héhéhé, c'est de l'exagération poétique. J'ai dû négocier plusieurs mois avec beaucoup de monde, et faire des économies drastiques !

Comment ça va toi ?


beadbabe49 said...

amazing journey...thanks so much for sharing your trip with us!

jenclair said...

An exotic adventure with color and craft! I love the little embroidered scenes.

Hélène H said...

Thanks for leaving a comment Jenclair. I love these scenes too !

Koridwen said...

Je venais te mettre un p'tit passage de mon blog pour "illustrer" une de tes photos et je réalise ... qu'il s'agit d'un nouveau séjour en inde,! oO

Nan mais ho! :p
... très heureuse pour toi! :D

Je colle quand-même mon p'tit passage:
"des ciseaux assez extraordinaires, comme une pince de cheminée mais avec deux lames qui se croisent quand on serre la pince."
Je n'avais pas de photo et c'est assez laborieux à expliquer avec des mots.

Namaste. :)