My journey at Qissaa has been focussed, exciting, wayward, adventurous. My love of textiles prompted me to ask pertinent questions always and as a consequence my data bank was considerable. I consistently wanted hand woven stuff - imperfections and all. My dream was to curate stuff from all over the country like my trousseau. I decided to focus on Bengal as you need very deep pockets to do the vas Indian diaspora. I have geecha tussars, matka dhakais all espousing the tradition of Bengal. I was always fascinated by Nakshi kantha which has fifteen stitches unlike the plain running stitch which most artisans make. I found Papri who understood my obsessession and she has got me some exquisite stuff all made in Bangladesh. Somehow the workmanship is better.
My experiments have led me to the beauty of natural dyes made with hartaki, iron, khair. They are natural hues. I love imperfections of handmade textiles. We have experimented with block batik which is a beautiful texture on the entire fabric, unlike the hand painted versions in brighter colours. Over supply have made them undesirable even though the bankura horses etc they depict are quaint.
It is a constant process of discovery everyday as I interact with artisans, their sheer genius which is about to die because youngsters want to espouse mainstream professions. It is uncool to be in a village. I fear it will die away. I wear just these. I ask people to do so. Buy atleast one a year to provide incentives for kids to learn and stay back and continue.
The Qissaa continues