Friday, 16 August 2013

A Different Kind of Hardship


What would you call poverty that is not the lack of money but an inhibition of rights? What if you
live in a society with 100% literacy but no sense of liberation?

For reasons known but rarely mentioned, it is always/mostly a woman who bears the brunt of this in Kerala society. Their basic right to decide has been taken away, sometime because of a chauvinistic husband, sometimes owing to family burdens and so on. The reasons are numerous and every woman has a different struggle.

On the other side of this very society, women are finding their own meaning, their purpose. The hope is small but sure. By training them, by strengthening them with required skills, giving them the freedom of work, Tara is giving its women back their basic right to have a choice.

I don’t promise them freedom from their helplessness, nor do I pride myself with uplifting them. I am just someone creating an opportunity for them to help themselves. I have the means and have equal need for them; this relationship is symbiotic.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Craft of Appliqué

Though its origins cannot be pinpointed, it was the French who coined the term Appliqué, meaning ‘applied’ or thing that has been applied. It can be sewn by hand or machine in a variety of ways. Appliqué first came into being as a necessity to patch torn clothes. Over time, it grew into an embroidery technique. Different pieces of fabric, embroidery or other materials are sewn onto another cloth to create patterns or motifs.

At Needlecraft, we reuse left over pieces from garments and handcraft them into fun designs on Tara dresses, towels, and flannels. Most of the pieces are illustrated from embroidery books, but every once in a while one of our women comes up with a colourful rendition of their simple lives. 

Take a look at some applique pieces

These are our baby-steps towards a more sustainable viable living society. Try some appliqué for yourself too with this tutorial.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

What inspired Tara?

Cochin store
Tara as an enterprise started in 1981, but its story starts with Annu Jose and a concession counter at her mother's saree shop.

It grew to become the first ever exclusive children’s wear and utilities shop in Kerala within two years of its conception.

Things were not the same over three decades ago for a new mother. There were no readily available diapers or baby clothes or toiletries.

Clothes and diapers had to be stitched or brought in from the metro cities; most other necessities too shared the same plight.

When Annu was blessed with her first child and had to face the difficulties of gathering such simple provisions, she figured the potential for an exclusive baby shop in the fast growing city of Cochin.

She carried a preference for whites with pastel embroidery, memoirs of her childhood that she chose for her son’s garments.

She adopted the same style of clothes to put up in the Tara baby shop, and to this day, the garments echo a similar aesthetic.

We did the stitching, embroidering and packing on the first floor and my living room was the counting section. With bundles of clothes in the corner and over 20 women working, my house was more of a workshop. It sounds more tiresome in retrospect, but honestly I never really had the time to stop and think about these nuances.