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The Moon Scarf - a celestial collaboration between artisan and designer

The recent solar eclipse reminded me of a scarf from my past collection.

The "moons" in this scarf were created using a technique known as itajime (clamp-dyeing), one of a class of Japanese resist-dye processes known as shibori.

This scarf is a shining example of a unique collaboration between designers and artisans. The utter magnificence of the scarf is clear.  But to me, the artisan-designer collaboration is more striking.

Aziz Khatri, a brilliant artisan-designer made this scarf, likely inspired by his prior work on the Moon Sari (now in the archives of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London). This in turn was inspired by his design explorations with women designers from NorBlack NorWhite.

Aziz Khatri studied design at a design school set up by an American textile designer in India.

Why is the artisan-designer connection important?

 In the handmade textile ecosystem where prominent fashion designers garner most of the attention, the role of the artisan takes a back seat.

In this ecosystem, intricate designs on the finest silks and cottons tell the story and history tradition and culture, with the artisan at the core.

Without the artisan, the designers would be just that, designers – not the creators of magnificent works of art in a cornucopia of colors and textures.

That is why the connection between artisan and designer is precious. It is truly a connection made in heaven.

Work co-created in such a collaboration is unique, innovative and artful in a way that individual work is not.

India’s artisans rely on their craft for a living and to sustain future generations of artisans. Artisan-designer collaborations will ensure that artisans and their craft continue to thrive and preserve India’s heritage both in India and abroad.

The Moon Sari, which inspired this clamp-dyed scarf was featured in the "Fabric of India" exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2015. Artisans were featured prominently in the exhibits and their work was on display along with the designers’.

See two examples of moon scarves in my current shibori collection.


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