After seeing this video from Good Earth, my idea of what constitutes handmade has been challenged.
I was totally mesmerized by their quilt making process. In most Westernised parts of the world we are happy to put the ‘Handmade’ tag on anything we feel we have created from ‘scratch’. In other word something we have designed and/or put together ourselves, usually of commercially manufactures parts and materials. Good Earth takes this several steps further, especially with their Bed and Bath ranges.
The quilts at Good Earth aren’t just made by hand (with some machine stitching), the designs that appear on the quilts (and other home products) are designed and painted by hand. Wooden blocks of these designs are then hand carved using traditional methods and used to hand print the natural fabrics with natural dyes. Many having multiple stamps for each pattern repeat and motif.
I think what fascinated me the most with this part of the process, apart from the fine detail of the designs, was the speed and accuracy of the stamping process.
Another part of the creation of these beautiful quilts I was fascinated with was the filling process. Instead of using a batting manufactured in a factory, they use a traditional fluffing technique which leaves a downy layer of cotton on top of the fabric. This is carefully and skilfully roll up with the quilt fabric, then flipped with the quilt fabric to the right side and gently unroll, keeping the layer of cotton in place between the top and backing (which is just as beautiful as the top), ready for hand stitching.
The Story of Good Earth
Good Earth was founded in 1996 by Anita Lal, starting with one store in Kemps Corner, Mumbi.
As the creative director, Anita’s vision for her business was a simply one – style and luxury.
“True luxury is in the details of everyday living; it is being surrounded by things that are natural and hand-crafted with designs that elevate the spirit.”
Today, Good Earth is ran by Anita’s daughter, Simran Lal, a graduate of FIT New York, and employs 300 people. Their designs are a celebration of the heritage of Indian sub-culture and surrounding areas across Asia but with a contemporary feel. They draw inspiration from the traditional roots of their culture with rich colours and imagery.
Good Earth values
Good Earth’s core values are of sustainability as well as sustaining traditions and the ecology.
“… encouraging quality craftsmanship and the revival of lost Indian traditions that are beneficial to the environment and the society is what we consistently work towards. …”
What’s more surprising is the price of these quilts. The one picture above can be bought for $135 to $230 USD (depending on size). But when you compare the minimum wages in India, it’s little wonder they can do this. In Australia our minimum wage works out to $128 per day compared to India’s which ranges from $2.41 to $20.42 AUD per day (depending on district).
After watching this video, sewing with commercially made fabrics, no matter how pretty, or soft and cuddly have somehow lost their shine. Now I feel I want to learn how to hand print my own fabrics and start creating pieces that are more Artisan — perhaps not today though ;) For now I think I’ll stick to designing soft toy patterns. But one day, I may look at this again :)
Until next time …