November 28, 2010

Mysore Silks, from the factory

Years ago I lived and studied in Mysore, India.  It was a transformative experience in many ways, not the least of which was the exposure to Mysore silks.  I consider them the finest in the world, and love sewing with them.  They have a sheen and a "hand" to them that is exciting and inspirational, and contributes greatly to the aesthetic of my work.  I brought some silk back with me from my student days, and my husband procured an excellent assortment of them some years back while on a business trip, but I was running low, and the type I prefer is not readily available online.  Luckily my daughter came to the rescue; while on a recent trip to Bangalore she sought out and  found a showroom stocked with Mysore style silks. 
She was such a good customer, buying on my behalf, that they took her in the back and showed her around the factory.  She got these amazing pictures of the looms, above, and the spooled threads, below:
Another picture of the fantastically complex machinery:
And a picture of one of the artisans operating the loom:
Here is some of the bounty she brought me,  in the lighter shades:
Here are the jewel tones and darker pieces. They are all a meter, or more, and the photos can't begin to capture how iridescent they are.  Many of them are woven with one color thread in the warp and another in the weft, to make a fabric commonly referred to as "shot silk".
I also received three pashmina/silk scarves, light as air and very warm:
As well as some pure silk scarves, even lighter than air, with complex woven paisley designs:
A bonus printed silk scarf:
And last but not least, an incredibly decadent red silk and gold metallic thread tablecloth. 
I've got the yardage all edge stitched, rinsed and dried --they "bled" very little, further proof of their superior quality-- pressed, folded, and stacked up in a glorious pile.  I'm doing my best to clear the decks of the usual mundane tasks that pile up in the holiday season so that I can get some serious studio time in and see where all this will lead me.....someplace good, I think!


Judy Warner said...

Just beautiful, Sue. I am going to be in Kerala next summer and must look for some fabric myself. And, some pashima!

Gerrie said...

Absolutely fabulous. Loved the photos of the workshop, too.

Kristin L said...

I hope my daughter (or son) grows up to be like yours! Those fabrics and scarves look amazing. Have fun using them!

Allison Ann Aller said...

It will definitely lead to someplace good!
I got to shop for silk in Varanasi 10 years ago, and my stash is almost gone..I've used it sparingly over the last decade and would love to go back for more!
Thanks for all the great photos.

Terry Jarrard-Dimond said...

Looks like Christmas came early! These are beautiful and the photos wonderful.

Deb said...

What bounty! Now comes the hard part - cutting into the glorious cloth.