December 10, 2012

Treasure Trunk at #'The Peaceable Kingdom'

This is our first post in the series 'Treasure Trunk' where we will be featuring small businesses and our partners that carry treasures from around the world including some of our beautiful products!

Today we are featuring 'The Peaceable Kingdom' owned by Joan and Phillip Ritchie, originally two school teachers and now owners of this eclectic store. I distinctly remember the warm smiles they wore each time i bumped into them at New York International Gift Show. Considering the elaborate walks down several never ending isles and physically exhausting nature of these shows, the humble smiles just went to show the bubbliness of the Rithchie's and how much they enjoyed being there, browsing and picking unique items for their cool shop located at Providence, Rochester. 

Here's a little about these lovely owners and their store where you can surely find something unique to gift this holiday season!

Since 1980, the Ritchie family has been collecting, travelling and sharing folk art from around the world. Joan and Phil Ritchie were two school teachers who travelled every summer and collected tribal textiles, masks, statuary and unusual, functional tools to make these things. They decided to open a shop to bring these treasures to others.  The Peaceable Kingdom (named for the American folk artist Edward Hicks'j work) is a place where stories come aline--where art created within cultural traditions transports the viewer to exotic lands.  Talk to a Peruvian curandero (folk healer) by looking into a retablo depicting a  healing ceremony.  Visit a Central Asian woman by admiring the sosani (embroidery) she created to decorate her yurt.  Hear the Sepik River ancestral myth carved into a story boat from Papua, New Guinea.  These and other treasures will delight as they open the world for you.

People seem to have only nice things to say about this store and the owners on yelp.

"Stopping into this shop is like entering a special museum, in the way that a great museum tells stories and engages its visitors."

"A really cool shop full of treasures from around the world.  The prices are very reasonable and the people working there are helpful, nice, and funny!"

"What a great store! Very unique! Lots of handmade, fairtrade items for sale. They are the nicest people. I love going into the store and looking around for hours. This is my go-to place for gifts."

Which of our products can you expect to find at The Peaceable Kingdom?

          Applique Curtains     |     Tea-lights & Block printing blocks     |     Silk Scarves

& more...

October 28, 2012

Meet the Artisans at R.B Fabrics

R.B Fabrics is based out of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, established 26 years ago in 1986 by Abdul's father. They specialize in tie n dye processes and make a variety of products ranging from scarves, sarong, stoles and bags to cushion covers, pillow covers, quilts, bed covers, table covers, runners and table napkins. R.B Farbrics has come a long way from working as a small block printing unit to partnering with the likes of Anokhi, AIACA and many more. It now provides livelihood to 25 men and women in it's region. The best part - for the first time ever, we're introducing the actual artisans who craft these beautiful tie n die cushions and curtains! 

Step 1: A regular un-dyed, unbleached cloth is tied up in different patterns before dipping into the dye. 

Above: Farida beginning to craft a new curtain

Step 2: This tied up cloth is bought for dying into desirable colors. These dyes are made using fast and azo free (non-carcinogenic) colors. Dyes like remazol are dissolved in boiled water and then blended with color fixative so that they don't run after or during washes. 
Above:  Mohammed Ismail and Mohammed Yusuf

Step 3: If the design calls for more than 2 colors in it, the dyed cloth is tied all over once again and re-dyed to get the necessary effects. Some hard work eh! It is a very time consuming process and takes anywhere between 8 to 18 hours for one spool alone.

Meet the other artisans in Abdul's team!
Lakshmi twining away meters and meters of cloth
Jannat Bano peeping through her bifocals, all engrossed.
Both picture above: Razia Bano

Imtiyaz Ali
Sometimes it's just impossible to comprehend that pieces of such extreme perfection and beauty that we use to beautify our own homes and lives simply come from humble homes such as theirs! It's worth giving a second thought to the lives of these artisans who continue to fight their battle with industrialization, struggling to keep our culture and the very essence of being human alive! Join us in supporting the artisans!!

If you are an artisan cluster or an organization and would like to have your artisans featured on our blog, please please write to us! We would love to hear from you!

October 2, 2012

Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing

Jaipur has been my mom's hometown, so as kids it used to be often that we'd visit to spend time with grandparents. At the time, as a kid, it  wasn't really a city of my dreams - in fact i always found it dirty and hot and cribbed about all the things that were wrong with it.  I'd rather go visit a city that had the Essel World (India's Disney Land in Mumbai) or Appu ghar in Delhi, but never to the oh! so boring palaces and museums of Jaipur. The funny part, that same visit now feels like a surreal dream sitting here in the US even though i so badly want to just wander and explore the beautiful city all over again with this new found passion! Mom's family moved out of the city almost a decade ago, about time when i had just started my career as an architect and sigh! how i regret not having taken advantage of the several past visits back then! 

Well, one of the UNESCO's award winning museums for 'Cultural Preservation', amongst so many others that i missed visiting in Jaipur is the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. This place is very close to my heart because of the history associated with it, especially since the inception of The Green Elephant. Anokhi is an initiative of founder director Rachel Bracken-Singh and husband Pritam Singh. For the right use of this palace after renovation (by Pritam's father John Singh) back in 1989, several concepts were reviewed and a plan for developing it as a museum for block printing was put together. This museum is now dedicated for the preservation, collection and interpretation of the endangered craft of block printing. It definitely seems to have contributed a great deal in raising the appreciation of this fragile but living art form in the eyes of the world since it's inception. The Anokhi Museum hosts a permanent exhibit, a temporary gallery along with several educational programs and workshops that enable visitors to experience the craft of block printing hands on.

Anokhi has now grown to become a brand of its own that offers a diverse and delectable variety of products ranging from apparel like skirts, pants, tops, shirts, kurtis, coats to home textiles and other accessories. "Anoki's designs blend contemporary sensibilities with traditions of excellence." - truly. Well here's from where i'll let Anokhi's seriously beautiful products  along with some phenomenal product photography do the talking by themselves. Hope you'll love them as much as i do!

My favoritest is this beautiful, free flowing red dress! Which is yours?

Photo Credits: Anokhi Website

June 15, 2012

Tribal Collection by Decorative Carpets and Tim Campbell

For the launch of their new Tribal Collection, Decorative Carpets asked Los Angeles-based architect and designer, Tim Campbell, to stage a window display using their new rugs. Here's a peek at his design, inspired by a trip to Africa.

Decorative Carpets are a privately held, family-owned business dedicated to the proud tradition of their craft. For over 50 years, Decorative Carpets has been a leading source of hand-tufted custom rugs, broadloom, and specialty flooring for the interior design, contract, and hospitality markets. Their products beautify floors around the world, from hotel lobbies and suites to the finest residential interiors. 

What is hand tufting?
Hand tufting is an art that requires a high level of skill. To create a hand-tufted rug, the design is first transferred to a primary backing. The craftsmen use the design as a guide to handgun the location of each colored tuft. A secondary backing is added to glue the tufts in place before the top loops are sheared to create the final pile height.

What's so different about it?
Hand tufting offers the ability to make carpets and rugs in any shape, size, and design. Large pieces can be made without seams and an infinite variety of textures and colors can be added to create a truly unique piece of art for the floor.

Am just amazed with the beautiful patterns, so simple - so colorful! 
What do you think?
Content and Image Sources: 1

May 31, 2012

Pretty Pictures

Today i don't have any elaborate stories or explanations to accompany this post but just a little eye candy, our small way of saying hello to all our reader. Hope you like it :)

And how could i leave you without sharing what you could find in our little shop here at 
The Green Elephant. 

If you like these, find more designs here. Will come back with more next week, till then have a wonderful brighty and sunny weekend! Chao!

May 17, 2012

Color Trends-Spring and Summer!

Its that time of the year again!And we love it here @ TGE..
We are getting charged up for the upcoming fairs in Summer.We are introducing a whole new line of products & accessories.
Its Spring and almost Summer specially here in Florida-and the Highpoint market trend says GO BRIGHT!!

 That is exactly what we have in mind right now-sun-surf-and bright colors..Here's a preview of our new collection!!

 Tangerine and oranges are Absolutely IN!!

And who would not like patterns with textures to it.

Personally i simply Adore these curtains.They come in regular sizes.

This was just a preview!We are also introducing Kids collection!
Keep your eyes wide open-we are going BRIGHT and FRESH this year! You know where to get hold of us now!!Give us a shout if you like these.
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