|Information: ||In January of this year, ECS Board Member Zia Durrani, ECS Friend and former member Barbara Lipton, and Judy and Karin Anderson spent several weeks travelling in Gujarat, India. Zia is a native of Kashmir, India, and for Barbara, who used to teach the art and architecture of ancient India, this was her 10th trip.
But neither had been to Gujarat.
Gujarat consists of two large land bulges extending out into the Arabian Sea in the far west of India. It is east of Pakistan, south of Rajasthan, and just north of where the Indian coastline descends to the Indian Ocean. Gujarat is considered a relatively well-off Indian state with industry as well as farmland, paved roads (questionable!) and high employment. The population is predominantly Hindu, Muslim and Jain.
The women’s primary reason for visiting Gujarat was its renowned handicrafts, especially the textiles. Known for excellent embroidery and ingenious use of embedded small mirrors, for block prints, and for its extraordinary patola (or double ikat) weaving, among other skills, Gujarati textiles are considered among the finest in India. As well, Gujarat contains ruins from one of the oldest cultures in the world, the Indus Valley Civilization, dating to ca. 2,400 BC. And it is the site of ingenious and unusual “step wells,” beautifully carved stone wells descending up to 9 stories in an attempt to find water in the desert.
Zia and Barbara will describe some of the highlights of their journey along with photographs and will show samples of a few of the fabulous textiles they brought home with them.