Stitch by Stitch - Contemporary handmade textiles from India & Nepal

Contemporary handmade soft furnishings from India & Nepal

Selvedge Magazine's Meet the Maker series presents Stitch by Stitch

Karen Sear ShimaliComment

Stitch by Stitch co-hosted a great evening event at Selvedge's north London shop last night.

Guests enjoyed a glass of wine and a chat in the relaxed atmosphere at Polly Leonard's interesting shop. Stitch by Stitch's cushions, throws, table linen and bags were amongst the eclectic selection of fabulous textile goods on display.

Our designer, Graham Hollick then gave a talk about his visits to Gujarat, and his project with local embroiderers that led to our first collection of interior textiles. Graham always has some interesting and fun anecdotes to share, and he spoke of some of the pitfalls, as well as the rewards, of working in such a poor and remote region. These included initial issues with rusty needles and keeping the white cotton clean (which we're pleased to say were resolved!). He also had to get used to the women leaving their embroidery, sometimes tantalisingly near completion, to milk their cows! He also spoke of how difficult he found it to sit on the floor for hours, and how he would often be the only person sitting on a chair.

In a Q&A session, Graham compared two Kukuben cushions to illustrate that every item is unique, as each embroiderer slightly varies the stitches on each item. Some of the women had shown Graham antique embroidered items in their possession, explaining that some of the stitches were 'extinct' - no-one knew how to do them any more. We hope that our collection helps to keep some of the stitches alive, by reworking them in a contemporary way.

We then showed a film Graham made of the project which we are delighted to share with you here. The opening shots are of the colourful traditional textiles of the region, and it moves onto the women making our products. Look out for the shots of the women transferring the paper designs onto the fabric by rubbing paraffin wax over the paper - tiny pinholes in the paper allow the design to be traced through onto the fabric. This is my favourite bit, and I love the happy chatter in the background as the women work.