India Journal. 1

From the Stitching Project to The Faraway Tree

Chawandia Village, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India

07.03.2016 – 09.03.2016

Our Indian journey began in Pushkar, Rajasthan. One reason amongst many to travel across the globe had been to visit The Stitching Project, a social enterprise dedicated to making fine textile products in rural Rajasthan. Founders Fiona & Praveen had been posting us garments since we set up our pop up shop last summer. Parcels wrapped in canvas, carefully sewn and stamped with red wax dots were sent to us all the way from this tiny village on the edge of the Thar desert. However, up until two months ago this relationship had been purely online! After a successful year of working together it seemed only right that we rectified this and paid them a visit.

The Stitching Project is set on the edge of the Thar desert in a tiny village on the edge of Pushkar. White washed walls provide a blank canvas for splashes of bright colours; reams of textiles, the stitching ladies vibrant rajasthani saris, block-printed fabric hanging to dry. We were greeted with sweet chai and swiftly made ourselves at home in the stock room where we spent much of the morning selecting new products. Fiona and Praveen set up The Stitching Project in support of fairtrade and beautiful workmanship. They employ locals and teach them the skills where necessary to produce high quality work, incorporating traditional methods with a contemporary twist. Fairtrade, a low carbon footprint and beautiful design underpin the ethos of the brand and Fiona places an emphasis on methods of production and knowing the people they work with.

After turning their stock-room inside out we were treated to an incredible vegetarian lunch where each staff member brings a lunch box from home and all the food is shared between everyone. Despite having 4 extra unexpected and empty-handed guests it was a generous feast after the fatigues of buying! 

The hospitality didn’t end there! We were invited to Fiona & Praveen’s home the next day for a camel ride and picnic in the desert. Their home is a warm, inviting space with textiles and art hanging on the stone walls and a menagerie of animals including tortoises, goats and Babu the camel.

For all of us the camel ride was one of the most unforgettable experiences of our whole month in India. We rode through the desert as the sun went down, at first between rows of small houses and children waving, and later not seeing a soul. We arrived at a magical clearing, aptly named The Faraway Tree where locals were busy cooking us a feast which we ate under the stars. The journey home in moonlight was eerily quiet yet strangely meditative, as we rode tree-height on our camels.

A big thankyou to Fiona, Praveen and all at The Stitching Project for your incredibly generous hospitality.

Visit our Summer Pop Up Shop on Sunday 12th June to see what we came back with.

Photography by Jaz Read