After having spent many years of my life designing hand-woven fabrics in Mexico, Guatemala and India and having worked directly with the weavers, the artisans of the world hold a very special and dear place in my heart. It is with tremendous sadness that I watch all the crafts of the world gradually vanish to become mere demonstrations in specialized museums around the globe.
In India, craftsmen (and women) still eek out a living and in some areas are still part of the everyday lives of the villages that they inhabit. Mexico, on the other hand, is another story, especially for the textile arts. Hand made ceramics, glassware and jewelry still are managing to survive but for how much longer is questionable as Mexico nears entry into the category of developed nation status. How tragic for all of us that the demise of crafts as a living art form equates with entry into the developed world.
On my tours to India, I always include visiting artisans and their workshops whenever possible. I shot many of the photographs below on just such tours. Wherever you live and visit, please support the local craftsmen before it is too late.
Naturally as India vies for 21st century status, especially with Modi at the helm, things are changing rapidly. Not so very long ago, Indian homes possessed very little furniture and almost every activity took place near to the floor. There were few, if any tables, chairs or bureaus in the typical home. They did everything on the floor and got very creative incorporating the use of their feet into their methods of production as seen in the photograph above.
This block printer is creating a border on fabric.
Nothing can replace the human touch in our everyday objects; whether it is the cup we drink out of, the cloth that caresses and adorns us or the jewelry that encircles our throats and wrists. Mass production has its place but there must be a balance and this lack of balance today threatens our very humanity.