All scarves made from:
55% Wild Forest oak silk 45% Himalayan merino wool
70x 200 cm
The Karigar collection is the result of a collaboration between Pashm and design studio IXXcreates. Designed in The Netherlands, each piece in this collection is handcrafted with immense skill by rural Indian artisans from natural and plant fibres such as forest oak silk.
Karigar (meaning ‘artisan’ in Hindi) includes home and fashion accessories entirely handmade from natural and plant fibres such as forest oak silk, wild eri and mulberry silk, Himalayan wool, nettle and khadi cotton.
What makes this special?
Hand made - blending traditional crafts with modern design making each product unique
Creating sustainable economic opportunities for village crafts women in the foothills of the Himalayas
Training and improvement - teaching traditional artisans new skills by giving them exposure and training in higher design and quality
The use and promotion of natural fibres such as wild silk help forest conversation
Fairly produced with consideration to local communities and their lifestyles
Throw Jacquard weave Black/White
60% wild eri silk
40% merino wool
130 x 170 cm
The Designers: IXXcreates & Pashm
IXXcreates is a Dutch design studio focusing on global textile projects with
a social impact. Pashm is an Amsterdam based company that gives rural Indian artisans a global platform.
Pashm founders, Kanak Hirani Nautiyal and Sindhu Holla, in collaboration with Jolijn Fiddelaers of IXXcreates work closely with these artisans to give
the traditional weaves and embroidery designs of India a modern interpretation.
Pashm and IXXcreates are bound by their common philosophy of creating products that are socially beneficial and environmentally responsible. ‘’Through this partnership we aim to give regular work to rural artisans, empower women, teach artisans new skills, while exposing them to new designs,’’ says Jolijn Fiddelaers, the designer.
The collaboration works great as Pashm speaks the language and has the strong relationships with local artisans and manages the daily production and logistics whilst IXX provides the design and product development experience.
Kanak: “we currently work with the Garhwali communities in the Himalayas. Most young people are leaving for factory jobs in the cities believing that they earn higher income but loose quality of life and community. Instead we are creating opportunities and skilled jobs in the villages handcrafts. Also by giving income opportunities especially for the women this ensures the social cohesion and means higher investment in the family, community and more happiness.”
the designer, IXXcreates
Kanak Hirani and Sindhu Holla with artisans
Pashm works with weaving communities in Utrakand in the foothill of the Himalayas. Garhwal Himalays consists of mountains and valleys which are also known as the Abode of the gods with the holy Indian rivers such as the Ganges flowing through these stunning lands. The mountain people are called Garhwali and they specialise in weaving, as well as grazing their domesticated herds in the wild nature, making wool as well as collecting wild silk and nettle and making the fibres.
“We work with mostly the women and they have been traditional weavers. They typically made shawls which are really colourful as well as all there own clothing. They have been using nettle for ever and only now are these materials are getting known internationally.”
Village clusters specialise in different parts of bringing a product to life – some are busy with the animal rearing and silk nurturing and making the natural fibres,
others are dyeing the materials and finally other clusters weave and make the end item. As Pashm selected the exact groups of women to work with and know them personally from regular visits they can assure themselves of the working practises and conditions.
Asha’s typical day involves looking after her household and children and weaving in between. This home working means I can stay in my community, have a good family life and invest in my children’s education without leaving the local villages and communities for the larger cities and factories. I love to work in my home village as it has fresh air, stunning views, a good social life and it’s the land of my family and our ancestors. For our work we organise ourselves in clusters and work as a collective and get support from government agencies. And with Pashm we are opening up new areas for our traditional skills.
Materials – Natural fibres
The Karigar collection highlights natural fibres found in the foothills of the Himalayas and used by the local Ghowalis for centuries for their clothing.
Himalayan Forest silk
At the foot of the Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttaranchal, forests of regal, old oak form a natural watershed for two major rivers that feed the plain below. A local non-governmental organization commercialised wild oak silk so the locals could live off forest products and resources without destroying the trees. It developed wild oak silk harvesting and forest preservation techniques in the area. Some 750 people, primarily women, are benefiting from this enterprise in silk worm rearing, cocoon production and silk production. The project started in 1996 with the planting of 10 kg of wild oak seed. Last year 162 kg of seed was planted, which amounts to about 1 million saplings. This year alone, more than 500,000 saplings were raised, while more than 5,000 mature oak trees were protected through the project. Using sustainable harvesting norms, only 30% of the allocated forest area is used for silkworm harvesting and then is left alone for three years. The project has established nurseries and plantations to regenerate the forest.
Eri silk cocoons cannot be reeled because the cocoons are collected only after the moth emerges out, leaving a hole in the cocoon that breaks the continuity of the silk filament.
Eri silk fabric is becoming very popular amongst those who practice absolute non-violence Budhist monks in India, Bhutan, Nepal, China, Japan prefer this “ahimsa silk” because the worm is unharmed. Eri silk fabrics are considered as “Holy fabric”; used for many holistic purposes because it protects the body from cold as well hot climate, from skin allergy, skin disease, infection etc.
Wool is obtained from sheep, yak, and other animals that are used to living in the cold and have been domesticated over thousands of years by the nomadic mountain communities. Wool is harvested several times a year and its growth is particularly good during the cold Himalayan winter. While producing and selling wool alone would not support mountain communities, the trade does help them generate cash. Karigar uses high quality and fine merino wool from sheep reared locally and introduced in the 18th century to cross breed with local sheep.
This plant is largely found growing wild in the broad leaf forests with high leaf litter and moisture as well as in the outskirts of villages of the Himalayas between 1200 and 2500 metres. In the past thousands of years local people have worn fabrics made from the Himalayan nettle but this lost popularity when synthetic fibers arrived. Considering the potential of this fiber, local agencies are promoting eco-friendly natural nettle fiber as a livelihood option to the hill people. Special inherent characteristics of nettle fiber make it very different from other fibers and nettle has unique properties which allow fabrics with thermal properties, both warm and cool and great resistance to wrinkling.
We are aware and participate in the whole process from materials and to the final products says Pashm co-founder Kanak.
The Himalayas are a cold place and the mountain people have had to depend on the fabrics they weave for warmth, for easy travel, and for survival. The work that the local people do with their weaving results in high quality hand woven fabric that is strong, warm, as well as beautiful.
Wool is turned into thread using simple methods.
The thread is dyed in vats or in large pots.
The process of making yarn, dyeing, and rolling it into easy to use balls makes income for the women.
Women may weave from a design or create images in their mind passed down over time. The hand and foot looms have been in use for many centuries. While heavy looms have been developed and are in use, the lighter looms are still used by many women. In some areas the women use a portable frame that can easily be carried to her neighbor's house where they can chat and work.
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