Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Pennsic treasurers pt 2

Cream cotton sari drying on the line (strange concept for the Americans, older rentals don't come with white goods here, and we've got plenty of solar energy, in summer at least). From Garvi Gurjari, cost $12 USD.

I've just finished washing some new sarees in cold salty water as I didn't know if the dye would run. One of the hardest parts of coming home after Pennsic is dealing with the mound of wash. As Slippery Rock is so humid, even your clean clothes come home smelling musty after being trapped in a suitcase for 24-30 hours. Thus everything has to be washed, which is perfectly fine for the mundane items as they can be tossed in the dryer. The handmade garb needs to be washed carefully and line dried, a difficult prospect when you're returning to Melbourne winters which involve significant lengths of overcast cold weather and drizzle, and a sun that seems to rise and set while you're at work. Add to that the complication of washing and drying 10 lengths of 6-9 foot fabric with limited line space. The result: still finishing off the wash two weeks after returning from the event.

Brown, dark brown / black and green cotton block printed sari. The green lines appear to have been block printed on separate from the dark brown/black motifs. From Garvi Gurjari, cost $12 USD.


I'm not sure if Garvi Gurjari is a shop name or the name of the weavers/dyers of this sari. Google isn't helping much either. I'm going to assume the trader or maker takes their name from Gujarat. This is a north western state in India (above) and was a well known center for fabric crafts and trade in the middle ages. Many of the scraps of imported fabric found in Egypt are attributed to Gujarat. Below is an example of cotton block printed fabric that shows incredible intricacy and precision. I'll post at another time about the process of block printing, I may even try it myself.
While washing these two sarees, I half convinced myself they'd make beautiful Persian garb. Given I now have a plethora of sarees, I'm contemplating turning one of these two into a nice light under-dress/tunic. The block printing is lovely and perfect for the application. I'm also unlikely to wear a brown saree as I haven't an appropriate choli at this point. The only thing holding me back at this point is I've never sewn Persian garb before, and I'm really hesitant to cut up such nice fabric (I suspect this hesitation is also the secondary cause of my fabric stash).

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