Finding myself in Kathmandu with too much time on my hands this trip, I decided to give a project that I'd wanted to try for ages a little go. The aim was to produce a short video showcasing each step in the creation of our clothing. While it's lovely to promote photographs of our makers, it doesn't always show how things are done.
I wasn't supposed to have too much time this trip - it came about by an inopportune incident involving a shovel, a ditch and a water drain that flooded every time it rained. Yohann injured his knee while innocently digging a hole a few weeks before our leave date. He hobbled around during 2 weeks of it'll-be-right denial before realising it wasn't going to heal itself. An MRI soon after sealed his fate. Surgery was needed.
So off I go ... unexpectedly alone ... to what is now most definitely my second home. Still looking forward to absolutely everything about Kathmandu in the wet season, yet strangely out of sorts. We love going to Nepal together, it's our thing - never just a sourcing trip for us. Ho hum, just have to make do!
I decided to push on and get this thing started!
First step: find a videographer.
I placed an ad and found Susana pretty much straight away. She had been in Nepal for the past year and a half working with a crew filming shamanism in and around Kathmandu. The project had finished and she had precisely the time off we needed before flying back to France for holidays. C'était parfait!
I also met Ryan, who while didn't get the videographer position, was a musician and said he wanted to record a song for us. He can play more than 10 musical instruments and is loving ❤ the ukelele at the moment, so decided to perform a Nepali folk song using the ukelele - a very non Nepali instrument. Combining the madal - Nepali percussion instrument - completed the beautiful tune.
Susana and I began by filming in the workshop. Here we could document the pattern making & cutting, stitching, embroidery, button holes, checking, ironing and packing. She took enough footage for at least a 2 hour film here!
The next day we moved on to the weaving, dying and printing - all performed in Patan. This day was so, SO interesting, and again she took lots of footage here. There were quite a few processes that didn't make it into the video due to the time restraints, including (above) spinning the cotton onto large spindles that would later feed into the looms. In the picture below he is threading the huge amount of cotton just off the looms into a more manageable 'pile', back and forth layering to eventually form a large bundle to take into Kathmandu for deliveries.
Witnessing the fabric screen printing of our pieces (printed skirt
, mandala skirt
) was quite interesting. The pictures below show how it's done by hand on a large scale, not simply 10 - 20 metres, but commercially. These guys were actually working and did not stop for us - we had to get (and stay) out of their way.
Day 3 was the absolute best fun! We were out and about in the streets filming the 'cultural' life in Kathmandu and of the Nepali people.
And of course our gorgeous model, Nat!
So the knee is now fine and back at work. My solo trip allowed me to tick off a box that had been looming somewhere on the bottom of my to-do list for a few years now, almost about to be relegated to the 'dreams of old,' or the regrets pile.
It also reignited my passion for my work again.
The past two years have been a teeny tiny bit difficult for me for a few different reasons, the first being that I've been bonded (by my own doing) into a life of servitude to our ever demanding Surya toddler (aka our shop). Who knew that when getting a shop you would have to actually be there ... every day!?
Happily, I came to a decision this trip that will ultimately affect the rest of my life! But more importantly my immediate future. To be revealed soon.
So without further ado ... here's the little big film that I produced in Nepal this year!
Until next time,