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|Percolate in mulberry|
Designed by Ange Yake ©Creative Matters
Monday, June 30, 2014
By Carol Sebert, Principal
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Greetings from Creative Matters!
Carol and Ana returned this past weekend from their trip to Nepal. Carol managed to steal a few hours from her busy trip, to visit the Goodweave site where children are taken after being rescued from forced labour in carpet mills. While she was there, she taught an art class for the 33 students who are living there at the moment. After she left, Carol sent the most uplifting email from Nepal - very inspiring! I had to share:
I had such a fun day I felt I had to report right away.
I went to the home where the kids live at Rugmark/Goodweave today with paper, paints (house paint tinted yellow pink and blue) black ink and paintbrushes. The kids were really excited that we were going to have an afternoon of art. I began with them all up on the roof of their home, as it was a gloriously sunny day. We sat in a big circle and started with the ink and did life drawing, which of course, was absolutely hilarious. I got one of them to model and at first they were shy and their poses a bit dull, but one by one (I guess I had about 15 models by the end) the poses became more elaborate. There were lots of judo-like poses by the boys and tiger-like poses from the girls. They all just leapt into painting with marvelous abandon!
I then had them take the black and white paintings and add colour. By this time, the paint was starting to get all over the place, including in my hair as it was quite a flurry - paint pots were spilling, what with 33 kids exuberantly painting... but they were so into it, and so incredibly focused. I've done workshops like this before and there are generally a few goofballs that really can be disruptive, but not these kids - they worked really hard.
After about an hour I wanted to do one larger piece. I wanted them to try working larger so the full sheet that was 24”x36”. I instructed them to paint themselves in a setting that they liked and WOW, the results were amazing. Many of them did houses with the Himalayas in the background with clouds in the sky and big suns. One boy painted the RugMark house that they all currently live in with him on the roof flying a kite; another boy drew himself as almost a cartoon superman type figure in a charming landscape. Gorgeous work. And they were so proud of themselves - I couldn't take enough pictures of them holding their artworks, it was absolutely lovely.
A touching moment was when one girl, who had just arrived the day before, who was too shy to do anything but watch finally picked up a paintbrush (well I may have put it in her hand). She did a lovely figure painting all pinks and blues. You could just sense her feeling more settled and part of the group. The warden and I were both really pleased to see that.
Monday, October 6, 2008
We were delighted to see one of our projects on the cover of October 2008 Metropolitan Home this month titled "Asian Fusion". Working with the talented Shamir Shah on this Soho apartment, we assisted on textures and offered suggestions on some of the natural fibers. Needless to say, the rug was woven at one of our RugMark certified mills in Nepal. The striped rug was a combination of wool, hemp and silks in browns and gold tones with a bright persimmon accent.
Beautiful photos, beautiful magazine - here are a few shots of the residence and carpet taken by Met photographer Antoine Bootz.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Donna and I went to the RugMark facilities today to see with our own eyes where the children are living who have been rescued from the looms and factories in Kathmandu. It's a four storey building with a large playground that was, unfortunately, not usable at the time. It's rainy season here in Nepal so full of puddles, but one can imagine great games of soccer taking place. Many of the residents are young boys, as they are the more valuable child workers because they are strong at a young age. However, there are a number of girls here.
We were introduced to one lovely young girl, probably around the age of 11, who had been rescued just the day before. She had already woven 2 rugs but now has a chance for an education and a better life. She was not yet dressed in the uniform that all the children wear, a maroon shirt with navy pants. Boys and girls alike wear the same.
We toured all the facilities, from the bedrooms, which look a little like what we have in summer camp. There are bunk-beds in each room with around 10 beds in per space. The rooms were very clean and very tidy, the blankets all rolled up at the head of each bed with the pillow, shoes carefully lined up at the door. There's a cupboard for additional clothing, but these children do not have any personal items.
School books for studying were on some of the beds, rest time for some includes math review. There is a library where the children all meditate for half an hour each day, then can read and enjoy quieter games. The kitchen, which had delicious smells wafting through, was staffed by a number of women, and there was a room adjacent that was the dining hall. In total there are about 40 children at this facility.
In the kitchen however, there were 5 older boys who had gone through the program at RugMark, had completed their Grade 12 level and now have sponsors for university in Kathmandu. It looked like they'd returned for a homecooked meal!
The three classrooms are simple with schoolbooks, tables and benches and a blackboard. The children are fast tracked to grade three level and depending on their competency they either continue on for the potential of university education with help from sponsors or are trained for vocational work such as carpentry.
We discussed with the managers about the cost of each student's education, and for around $50.00/ year they recieve their uniforms, school books and education. That works out to two tickets for the raffle of Hariti. Imagine, 2 tickets sends a child to school for one year! It was a great tour and wonderful to see the facilities. We are delighted to see first hand the great work being done by RugMark and feel so good about contributing directly to helping the children.
Namaste, Carol and Donna
Friday, August 22, 2008
On Tuesday we were able to visit a factory where the hand carding and hand-spinning of the beautiful Tibetan yarn takes place. After watching the skilled women who turn a pile of fluff into weaving yarn we tried our hand at it. Now, having seen it, first hand, we appreciate much more, the skill of the spinners. By hand they feed the yarn onto a simple spinning wheel. It is their shear skill and manipulation of the yarn that determines the fineness of the wool, super fine (like sewing thread) for 200 knot construction, a little thicker for 100 knot, thicker still for 60 knot. Incredible! We had quite a few laughs as Donna and I produced lumpy, broken, completely unusable yarn.
The group went on to explain all the ways the yarn can be spun. Most commercially and quickly is by using the spinning wheel. But we were also shown very simple ways that work too, like using a pencil, then using a spinning top that the shepherds use in the fields while tending their sheep. One of the women then showed us her Tibetan traditional robe that was woven from very fine hand spun yarn. Part of theTibetan costume is an apron of multi coloured stripes woven on narrow looms (6" wide) and sewn together. She showed us her tradtional piece, still well in use.
When the yarn comes in to be spun, it arrives from the hill stations in packages. It gets sorted into piles of white best yarn (from the underbelly of the sheep), to brown yarn (from the back) and to yarn that cannot be used (from behind the head). The best yarn is silky and smooth, and can be dyed to any colour. The brown yarn is good for flecky rugs and is also smooth but cannot be used for clean colours.
The wool from the back of the neck is like the white hairs on our heads - it's dead and has no lanolin or softness at all. The yarn is then washed and dried in the open air. Generally on the roof of the houses, which looks like a blanket of snow, even with icicles of wool dripping off the edge roof.
This is just one aspect of the many skilled portions of what goes into the hand made rugs we order. Every time I come to the Nepal I find I learn more and further appreciate the craftsmanship and detail that goes into our rugs.
See you Monday!
Carol and Donna
Check back soon for more stories and photos from the trip!
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Nepal never ceases to amaze.
Donna and I went to the carpet mills today. Theoretically rainy season but the rain seems to conveniently fall at night and the days are glorious with some sun and then huge clouds rolling over the Himalayas to blanket Kathmandu valley. Driving in Kathmandu is exciting. Quite frequently a cow will interrupt traffic and it is a terrible crime to hit a cow as they are holy. If they decide to stop and lie down in the middle of the highway, so be it. It's hard to describe the loose relaxed driving style in Kathmandu. There are traffic police at particularly busy intersections, which helps a lot, but otherwise one just moves through the traffic flow and magically it seems to work. Donna and I dart across the street, we clearly have not
mastered the relaxed manner.
We saw Hariti today for the first time. It's fantastic - the colours in the silk and wool just dance off the floor. The weavers at the factory, who made the rug, were intrigued with the concept that a photo from here (Nepal) was turned into a design and then a 6' x 9' rug. The translation from photo to artwork and now to finished rug is really exciting. The gleam from the broach that the child was wearing in the photo really sparkles in the finished piece. It was expected that Hariti would be in mid-production, upon our arrival. We could have been dreaming it but, were the weavers were so intrigued about production of this exciting rug that they finished it in half the time?
That's all for now,
gotta go and meet Dawa,
Stay tuned for more from Nepal. We're all so curious about Hariti...maybe they can squeeze her
into their carry-on?
Until next time,