Singular, special & exclusive artisan creations
Welcome to Birch & Loom; your destination for beautiful textiles, handcrafted homewares and original accessories. All our products are sourced directly from the artisans who make them in India and South East Asia. In doing so we support their financial independence as well as helping to preserve traditional creative techniques which are at risk of disappearing.
There is only one place in the world where rogan art is practiced, and that is in the sleepy town of Narona in Gujarat, in India’s isolated northwest. Isolated it may be, but the fame of the rogan practitioners has spread far and wide, so much so, that a rogan work was selected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to present to Barack Obama on the occasion of his visit to the United States in 2014.
Suzani originates from the Persian word suzan, meaning needle, and originated in Central Asia, particularly Uzbekistan, Tajikstan and Kazakhstan. It was a skill practised by nomadic tribes who used the large embroidered panels as a protective wrapping for their belongings, as prayer mats, bedding and for seating inside their yurts.
They were traditionally made by the women of the family as part of the bride’s dowry, and carried symbols of health and fertility. Floral patterns, pomegranates, suns and moons, leaves and vines are all typical design themes.
During the Soviet era in Uzbekistan, production of the highly desirable cotton crop escalated dramatically. Quotas were introduced to ensure production of massive tonnages and during the harvest, entire communities were forced to abandon their ‘day jobs’ to pick cotton in order to meet the quotas. Teachers, doctors, professionals and public servants could all be…
India’s first family of weavers I was reading the other day about an Australian wine maker who claimed status as a second generation producer. It got me thinking about history and provenance, and brought my mind to a recent visit to a village in Gujarat, India, where I met a young man whose family has…
Ahimsa Silk – ethical silk production Ahimsa means ‘do no harm’ or ‘non-violence’ in Hindi, and it is the expression often used to describe ‘wild’ silk. How can harm be applied to silk, I hear you ask? It’s all about the silk worm. In the wild, the chrysalid leaves the cocoon by eating its way…