Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Carpet Making Around Jaipur

Today we absorbed the world of carpet making, learning about design, weaving, washing, trimming and finishing. So many people contribute to the making of fine carpets! The best part was travelling out to a village where family groups cooperate in the weaving process. Each weaver (largely women) ties knots using fine strands of wool about six hours a day in between cooking, cleaning and child care. Today's production system includes a local chief of production who oversees weaving, distributing materials and maintaining looms. Woven carpets are then moved to a finishing center where they are washed, trimmed and bordered. Finally they're taken into a central distribution center in Jaipur where they are readied for sale. Considering the vagaries of environmental calamities (e.g. drought) carpet making provides steady incomes to villagers living in remote regions. The carpet - prep workers find their ways into steady day work often through networks of men (and some women) from the same village.

While our goal was to generate video footage towards a documentary on the production process, we were treated more like visiting dignataries than a video production crew. We were constantly offered tea and were personally escorted all over the region to gather footage. The kids in the villages were so special. They loved having their portraits taken with my still camera. Groups would peer into the lens and then especially bold ones would request personal portraits! Several of the shots came out amazingly well! When the regions' mid-afternoon black out occurred (daily between 3-5 pm), Kathleen's video camera became useless and I blasted through several of my 256K chips, shooting video clips with my little still camera. My stuff turned out great, but gotta find a place to burn all this stuff onto a disk so I'll have chip space for the Kumba Mela (I travel down there tomorrow). Kathleen's current plan is to stay here in Jaipur for a couple of more days while I'm determined to get to the K. Mela in time to witness the January 19th baths. I gather there will be 13 million there. Unlikely there will be Internet access there, so this may be my last post for a while.