MEET & GREET | DISCOVERING CRAFT IN KASHMIR
A short flight from Delhi surrounded by the Himalayan mountains, is the Northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Predominantly Muslim, the area is famous for its hand painting, carpets and chain stitch embroidery originally brought to the state by Iranian artisans some three generations ago.
We visited at the end of January when the weather was very cold but still breathtakingly beautiful. The locals wear long, heavy woollen smocks over their clothing and sit working cross legged around baskets filled with hot coals to keep warm in the Winter weather.
Whilst visiting we stayed on a traditional house boat, heated by log burners. Each evening we were treated to home cooked paneer and lotus root curries served with rice and yoghurt.
Each day we went out to visit different artisans in their homes, learning about the crafts and working together on developing new designs.
Artisans hand paint designs onto handmade paper mache shapes and tin containers.
Made from a mixture of pulped recycled paper and water our bunnies are moulded and left to dry before being hand sawn in half to create the base shape for our trinket boxes below.
Kashmir has a long tradition of chain-stitch embroidery and rug making. The houses of the artisans specialising in these were luxuriously furnished in elaborately patterned textiles. We didn't want to leave!
We couldn't travel all the way to Kashmir without taking a trip up into the mountains. Drinking authentic saffron tea in a tin shed, to warm up after trekking through snowy peaks was one of the trip highlights.
The sunsets are truly spectacular and we couldn't pass up the chance to take a boat ride out onto the lake on our last night.
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