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I source these shawls in Northern India, in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. I love the weaving patterns and colours used and each shawl tells you a little story; where it is woven and possibly who by and there is usually a traditional meaning to the shapes and patterns. The shawls are traditionally made by the Jolaha caste, which is the weaving caste. The weaving techniques and the patterns are passed down from generation to generation however more increasingly now a days machines are taking over and the original patterns of this area are being lost.
I try to find completely original pieces. The types of designs you will see on these shawls are rarely made today. The shawls were all hand made, from the carding of the wool to the hand looming of the shawl. The materials are wool either from sheep, goat or yak, with a few bright fibres woven through. Each year during my visits I am noticing it is harder to find these beautiful traditional shawls. Some of the shawls I find are family heirlooms that are saved in trunks in the homes. Every family will have some shawls from years ago, that they use in mid winter and then fold away again, keeping the best ones moth and hole free, but there are fewer and fewer available and the price is rising and rising.
I choose to pay a very fair price to the people I buy the shawls from as each may take over a week to make and usually the loom is placed outside open to the elements. This year in India I found two separate families who are going to weave for me. This means I choose the wool, the colours, the patterns and the sizes, so I can diversify. When you buy a shawl from me be assured that you are correctly supporting beautiful families in the hills.