Our last day at the Barefoot College was hectic, exhilarating, filled with laughter and sad all at the same time. With the help of the talented crafts women and men of Tilonia, the amazing Rimisha and our host Nishit , we achieved the goals we set out for ourselves only 9 days ago.
Wow. We have been busy as we’ve moved into full prototype phase. We are learning so much. Just when we thought we have worked things through, we discover a new quirk as we watch the women cut and sew our surface designs. Working here is an adjustment. Power outages, extreme heat -not to mention things just have a way of working by which we must abide. And of course everything is complicated by the fact that all information must be translated. Who knows what gets lost along the way.
One consequence of the extreme heat is that it was suggested by the Barefoot College that we stay at a nearby hotel. There is no AC on the campus, and with frequent power outages to their taxed solar grid even fans aren’t reliable. Most of the staff just sleep outdoors – yes it’s that hot. (It only went up to about 38 degrees yesterday and we all found it such a tremendous relief.)
We took the day off on Sunday and went to the Hindu pilgrimage town of Pushkar. The town wraps around a small lake and is home to one of the world’s only Brahma temples, just one of the 400 temples here. Fifty two ghats(bathing areas) line the perimeter of the lake – the devout come to bathe in these sacred waters. Pushkar is also know for its camel fair, unfortunately not happening now but there were still lots of Camel to see.Read More
Bunker Roy (the founder of Barefoot) kindly arranged for us all to make a puppet today so we could bring home a iconic keepsake of the college. Guided by the esteemed puppet master Ram Niwas, we attempted to make something approximating the human head.
In addition to our major textile appliqué project, we are also working on wooden closure systems for the shoulder bags. Right now the women in the sewing shop are using Velcro and magnets as bag closures which tend to end up staying stuck together and tearing the fabric they are attached to.Read More
Today we presented our surface designs to the appliqué masters. One of the interesting cultural quirks is the side to side head bob. As Ramisha translated our concepts, we waited with baited breath. Did they like them -yes, no? Impossible to tell as heads sway to and fro. Happy to report we got the thumbs up, along with lots of laughter.
Day 3 and we’ve got a project organized!! There are so many things we could do but with the time we have left, and in collaboration with the Barefoot artisans, fellows and staff, we have decided to work with the talented crafts men and women in the textiles and wood shops.