One of the things I like to do when I travel is to look up people I consider to be colleagues in other cities, hoping to meet with them to chat about what it’s like to do similar kind of work in different parts of the world. While in Jaipur, I got in touch with Jemma Bell of Soda + Stitch, and she was kind enough to hop over the wall (she lives next door to Diggi Palace!) to chat with the group I was teaching on the Ritchie Ace Camps Block Printing Tour.
Jemma showed us the woodblocks she uses to print her adorable kids’ bedlinen, and gave us an insight into what it’s like to produce a textile range in Jaipur, too.
In Delhi, where I was spending a day with friends before heading back to Cape Town, I looked up Safomasi, and was so happy to get an invitation to meet one half of this design duo (the name Safomasi is a mashup of the names of SArah FOtheringham MAhinder SIngh) at their studio on Sunday morning. We came up from the chaos of the street below into a gorgeous light-filled space with views over the park, where we had a delicious cup of liquorice-peppermint tea and chatted about design, screenprinting, life in Delhi, and all manner of things. Sarah’s designs are probably the most complex screenprinted textiles I’ve ever come across. Some of them have up to 10 screens making up the design! Quite extraordinary.
And it’s not just gorgeous screenprinted home accessories they’re doing – there are rugs too!
Thanks so much to Jemma and Sarah for taking the time out of their busy days to meet with me. I’m looking forward to hearing from both of you, should you ever find yourself in Cape Town, and we can swap more tales of design and production across the globe.
PS: I also met a product designer in Jaipur, whose products express a highly sophisticated contemporary take on Indian culture, and use traditional manufacture methods. Looking forward to sharing more about this fascinating work on my blog soon!