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When we started ANARA, we spent quite a bit of time in and around Jaipur, Rajasthan, meeting makers, dyers, artists, and manufacturers as we sourced materials and built relationships with our partners. During our second trip to India, we visited a fabric wholesaler outside Jaipur. We were looking for new textiles to play with, something different from the organic cottons used for our block print wraps and the 2-ply cottons of our kantha quilts. In one room we were surrounded by shelves of fabrics in every shade of white, cream, wheat, and ecru. I remember touching and caressing gauzy muslin in varying weights, canvas, cotton sheeting, and every variety of silk and linen. The multi-room facility had textiles of all kinds of fibres, blends and colours.
A walk upstairs brought us to a bright room where we touched and discussed the materials, and came across a beautiful textured, slubby cotton. We ended up buying the entire lot of handwoven cotton, which would become our first batch of Ecru Throws. We then took this material and working with our local coordinator, spent almost a year searching for the right cotton yarn, weavers and natural dyers to make our handwoven collection of throws and pillows in shades of cream, black, charcoal, and clay.
The cotton yarn is first sent to our natural dye partner in Maharashtra, where it is dyed and dried before being spun onto large spools that are then sent to our NGO partner in Bihar. They work with local villages to train and provide work to weavers in their homes. Here, our luscious, textured fabric is woven by hand, a process that takes a few months to complete. The finished rolls of fabric are then inspected, packaged and sent to us here in Vancouver. The fabric is washed, cut, sewn and labelled before being sent to our beloved customers and retailers.
This is slow, sustainable production.
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