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Visit to India 25/2/16 - 5/3/16

Posted on 16th Mar 2016 @ 8:43 AM

Betwee Feb. 25th and March 5th we visited India to further our carpet, clothing, bedding and cultural interests there.

Silk Rugs and Carpets.

One of the most exciting things to come out of the visit was to progress our interest in organic silk as a carpet medium.

We have been offering you raw silk as a component in rugs mixed with cotton and wool however until now it has not been a stand-alone material as it was too coarse. Only raw, “Wild”, or “Tussah” silk can be certified. The usual Mulberry silk is finer but cannot be certified due to the farming practices involved.

The other problem with raw silk was de-gumming it organically. We have now found a way to achieve this organically and we are finding that the de-gumming is actually making the yarn much finer. As a consequence we have requested Organic Weave to undertake a series of tests and fully expect it to be an ideal material for medium to high traffic areas.

The beauty is that this handspun organic silk comes in Apricot and Cocoa, so attractive blends of the 2 colours will be possible. The Apricot colour is almost twice the price as it is capable of being dyed.

In another world first, we will offer certified organic silk broadloom carpet in the Cocoa colour, at a cost of $414 per square metre, delivered via air freight to your door. Samples will be available within 3 weeks and rugs and carpets within 3 months. 

Prestigious Carpets:

img-20130429-00453.jpgWe were fortunate also to visit the Agra facility of Organic Weave, where they make finest quality carpets for the world's leading resorts. If you know of anyone operating at this level we would be delighted at the opportunity to quote.

326251270-13fcebee60.jpgAll market segments are important but we are especially interested to take authentic organic textiles into the heartland of commerce. There too, there are people of integrity just waiting to shine and support what's real.

Handmade Broadloom. 

As far as broadloom carpets go, we will be holding stocks in roll form of the following:

Village Wool in Sandstone; Conventional Wool in Light Beige, Wheat and Dark Grey; Organic Wool in Silver and Light Mushroom; Organic Silk in Cocoa.

These hand-made Broaloom products are a first on the world stage, in keeping with Blessed Earth’s purpose to introduce purchasing options that are as close to nature as possible

All other colors, prints and constructions will be quoted for and custom made with a 60 square metre minimum. Below that a premium will apply. In time the minimum for custom made carpets will need to increase to 200 square metres.

These products are now on the website inder Organic Broadloom and samples will be available in a few weeks.

Jnana Pravah. 

r-71-surahi.jpgThis unique cultural centre has been opened by wealthy businessmen who wish to preserve the musical, artistic and handcraft traditions of the Banares (Varanasi) area. It is a museum containing priceless, centuries old textile pieces and is not open to the public. There is also a showroom containing artisan-made intricate pieces of copper, some of them taking several months to create.

img-4743.jpgIn keeping with our policy of cross-fertilisation, we bought a collection of 15 water urns, which will be placed on display in our showroom. The centre have kindly offered to provide us with framed pictures of explanations of the significance of the crafts to go with our display. These urns were painstakingly made by skilled cradtsmen on the premises, some taking up to 6 weeks to make.

We were also invited, a few days later, to an afternoon of classical music in the centres park-like grounds on the banks of the Ganges River. About 400 attended. As the vocalist explained, there are now very few venues where this traditional music can be performed.

Moth-proofing. Organic Weave have made a major breakthrough in mothproofing using a natural neem oil solution. A decision was reached that all Organic Weave rugs and carpets, cotton, wool and silk, will be treated at the yarn stage. A package is being prepared that will be suitable for carpet cleaners and general home usage.

Car Carpets. Car carpets are odorous, contributing majorly to that new car Formaldehyde smell. So we’re introducing foot mats, which will be a combination of organic and conventional wools and coordinating organic wool seat mats

Car Foot Mats: These will make use of colourful leftover yarns and will be for sale at just $29 per 40x50cm piece. They will have a 6-7mm pile and be available in colourways Navy, Red, Brown, Black and Green. Those will be the outside colours of the floor mats and will be the same colours used in the seat mats

Car Seat Mats: Organic herbal dyed colours as above; 45x45cm with a 10mm pile. These will be suitable for seats of all descriptions. Price still to be determined, in the order of $59.

Hand-Knotted Persian Selection

dc-577-b-oc-150068.jpgWe purchased some more delightful Persian rugs which will appear on the website any day now. 
We have also commissioned production of a certified organic Kashan rug, as pictured. This will take 4 months to make and will retail for about $8,000.

The conventional version of this magnificent rug has already been purchased and will be delivered next week

Purchase from Inventory

We also purchased a large quantity of Flatweave Cotton; Hemp Mats; Printed Jute Mats and Flatweave Wool  Rugs. A % of these will arrive by air in 3 weeks. The balance will come by sea.

Internship

iictimg-new.jpgTalks are well under way to offer a month’s stay with Blessed Earth to an outstanding student at the Indian Institute of Carpet Technology (IICT), situated at Bhadohi, about one hour from our Varanasi factory. 
This is very much a process of cross-fertilisation. Blessed Earth will benefit from the student’s technical skills, while the student will benefit from hands on experience dealing with the public in another country.
The Institute is openly delighted with this arrangement 

Packaging materials

We were shown a new jute material with a waterproof membrane which will be far less bulky and wasteful than the method currently used.

Go Green's Organic Farm

24e29a3b74add628f2bc44fd8dd57b25.jpgWe might not have mentioned before that our factory also operates a 56 acre organic farm in the countryside. It's currently harvesting wheat, see picture.

img-4109.jpgA feature of the farm is the original species Gir dairy herd which provides fresh daily to the factory staff and workers. These are noble creatures and their milk is actually healthy - a far cry from the genetically modified cattle milk served up pasteurised and homogenised in our society.

School Wear

spu.jpgOur school uniform project is coming along in leaps and bounds. Many schools have now requested sampling and countless parents have expressed their excitement at the possibilty of having their kids in genuinely healthy clothing.

In response to public pressure our factory has taken out fair trade certification, even though the social accountability of organic certification is much higher than that required by fair trade. It is also true that fair trade does not require organic certification, even though the mortality rate in conventional cotton growing and processing is extremely high.