I am very fortunate that travel has been a part of my life since I was very young; for me it is one of the most enriching experiences life can offer. I am a very curious person so aside from the immediate joy I take from exploring a new place, learning about its culture, discovering different foods and meeting new people, travel is also a time to reset my mind and refresh my thoughts.
I’ve recently come back from a very inspiring few weeks in India. I have been travelling to India for over 40 years and it remains a constant both in my personal and my working life. For this recent visit I returned with our design team from Bamford so that we could all spend time with the artisans with whom we collaborate, immerse ourselves in and draw inspiration from India’s tradition in handicrafts.
India has a rich and expansive heritage in craftsmanship; the skills required to weave khadi, make buttons and hand-embroider textiles, for example, have been passed down through generations of families –and they are of enormous significance and value to India’s culture. I have loved and admired these skills for many years, yet the tragic reality is that with the rise of technology and digital printing and the development of chemical dyes, many are in danger of being lost.
Block printing is one of India’s oldest crafts. Traditionally carried out by hand and measured by eye, for me the signs of the human hand are part of its beauty. Even the tiny imperfections, in turn exemplary of wabi-sabi, a Japanese philosophy celebrating the imperfect, which I’ve spoken about many times, are part of its charm, indicative of the emotion and humanity behind the artistry.
I’ll always visit the Indian markets. They are like no other in the world: a colourful, vibrant explosion of colour, noise and smell, and I’ll always leave them feeling energised, all my senses stimulated and invigorated. The temples are their counterpoint: spiritual, soothing retreats, a chance for tranquillity, space and peace.