*Handwoven from India
Between two flashes of rain on Wednesday of June, we managed to find the time to go back to the bookshop of les Voyageurs du Monde to discover a new Pop’up Voyageur. On that very day, a world traveller and more specifically a traveler of the Asian continent was exhibiting her large collection of handwoven textile from India, Bangladesh and Japan.
The red thread of her life
“I recognize myself in these simple textiles from everyday life and yet so beautiful” explains Amit Zadok, the creator of this collection. This taste developed with time since her journey among textile started here, at the Librairie de Voyageurs du Monde in the design section for which sh travelled in Asia finding pieces of furnitures and other beauties. After the bookshop decided to stop its design section, Amit Zadok realised she couldn’t just give up on Asian textile and decided to build up a collection of her own. She specialised in “non precious” textiles (without golden or silver threads) building a collection of wild silk, geometric ikats and handwoven cottons the value of which lays in the details of the confection rather than in an shiny glimmer.
Various and fine techniques
Amit Zadok knows every piece of her collection like the back of her hand. She is ready to unfold different piece of textile to show us various weaving and printing technique: an ikat on her right arm and a kanta on the left one to point at the main difference between the two. While the ikat has been dyed before being woven the kanta was dyed after being woven. Other fabrics are even dyed with a needle to isolate precise little spots of colours on a different color background and many other delicate techniques she knows by heart.
The multiple lives of Indian textiles
Amit Zadok also want to draw our attention on very important point related to “the life of these textiles”. Contrary to one might think, they are not made out of one specific regional know-how making up some kind of a “textile pedigree”. Most often, explains Amit Zadok, these textiles live different steps of their life combining different skills from different regions. A thread can be spinned in region famous for their spinners, then dyed in another region (like the Bagru area known for its dyers) before being woven by the best weavers. En the end, these textiles will have more value on the market thanks to the combination of techniques they are made of that will make them more original than a singled technique one.
Colors and humans
Sarah et moi were highly impressed by so much details and precision: the cotons are soft and light and the silk is the lightest on the skin! We were also impressed by all the different shades we could see on these textiles: safran yellow, bright red and deep indigo blu. Amit Zadok told us right away that not all those hues are natural. The choice was left to the craftsmen knowing that chemical pigments are widespread nowadays in the industry for their brightness and simple way to use (one or two baths against several baths for natural dyes). But this doesn’t mean that Amit Zadok is leaving natural dyes behind, not at all!! Many among her most beautiful textiles are dyed in natural colors such as the indigo from Delhi, the warm brown on the wild silk and the orange yellow coming from a dye using a spice: Curcuma.
A commitment against ethic despair
This choice not to stop at anything but quality in her selection is a strong commitment for Amit Zadok. For her, there is no way she would sacrifice the quality and beauty of a textile at any sake. She insists on her selection being based only on her partnership with craftsmen she has been knowing for years whose quality she can completely rely on. She refuses to change this philosophy for social biased considerations. Amit Zadok just doesn’t want to buy herself a good ethic conscience on despair (Meaning : make money by putting forward distressing cause rather than quality products) and seeing what she has in her collection now makes us believe that she wouldn’t need to do that all!
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The bookshop of les Voyageurs du monde is now busting with a joyful activity, from clients discovering amazing new textiles, to us asking question and Amit answering honestly and from all her heart while folding a white and red sari, advising on how to use a black and white crossed ikat or wrapping a freshly bought brown piece of silk. When we leave, Amit Zadok recognizes a former client naming her the exact detail of all the fabrics this very lady bought six months earlier to another selling exhibitions. Everybody in the showroom, us including, were baffled by such good memory! We left on our tiptoes, happy and relieved, the immense Indian and Asian textile heritage is in good hands here.
See you soon,
My Craft Curator
Written by Margot