Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hand Painted Silk Factory Tour Part 2

Next our group headed to the Accessories Manufacturing room.

Here are some small pouches they make from their hand painted silk fabric...

Here are many more styles and colors of the bags...

This lady is sewing silk pieces into rosettes that are used on wedding gowns.

She is sewing the rolled hem on a beautiful scarf.

Ironing the silk.

Next we moved to the Stitching Department!  This work room was very nice.  There was lots of natural and artificial lighting, and plenty of fans.  This factory is definitely NOT a "sweatshop".

Here are some of their clothing design sketches...

One of the garments they produce.  In this factory they produce fabrics and garments that are used to create items from the major European high fashion houses.  (But they were discreet and wouldn't name names ;) ...)

The stitchers hard at work.

Our last stop at the factory was the Quality Control Room.

This employee shows off a finished scarf piece that is labeled with each color number used to create it.

And here is what the final product looks like just before it is ironed...

Our tour was now complete and we made a short walk to their showroom.

A fountain outside

An elephant planter outside

This is a tiny selection of the many beautiful scarves they have for sale...

They also specialize in Silk Sarees and they even make silk neckties.

Thank you for sharing this experience with me!  If you would like to see more of the beautiful items they produce you can find them here.

Happy Crafting!

Hand Painted Silk Factory Tour Part 1

Last weekend I visited one of my favorite shops in Kathmandu Mandala Silks.  They were having a .  I discovered this amazing shop because I am a member of the Cultural Studies Group of Nepal (CSGN).  Last year around this time we were fortunate to be able to take a tour of Mandala Silks Factory!  It was a wonderful experience for me and I took so many pictures that I will have to split this post up.

First they receive silk that is made in China and this ladies job is to check and mark spots with defects.

Next they sketch out a design on paper.

This man transfers the designs onto the silk.

Now they start hand painting the designs right onto the silk!

Here is a close up view of a piece of fabric in process.

Here is a smaller scarf before they add the colors.  Look how messy the side of the table gets!

These men are hard at work with a very steady hand.

Now the last layer of paint has been added...

And this is what the finished product will look like...

After watching the painting they took us into their Color Lab.  These are the color samples they can produce.

They have so many colors of the paint they use!

They hang up freshly washed silk to dry on their rooftop in Kathmandu.

We will see more of what they create with their hand painted silks in Part 2!  Thanks for joining me on this tour :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

So many updates...I guess I'll start with the BIG event, The Earthquake

Hello everyone!  I'm sorry for my absence from the blogging world.  I have been quite busy since April.  But the good news is I have been stitching and even have a few finishes!

The one of the biggest events in my life occurred on April 25, 2015 when a 7.9 magnitude Earthquake struck my home in Kathmandu, Nepal.   I've thought so many times about what to write about this event...but I guess I will just try to dive right in and tell you about my experiences.

First of all myself and all of my family, as well as all of our friends were safe!  There were no injuries (my daughter only scraped her knees when she was trying to walk wrapped up tightly in a pool towel as a blanket, MINOR compared to all of those who lost their lives), and our house had very minimal damage.

Saturday April 25th started out just like any other Saturday for us.  I headed out to a recreational facility that we always go to with my two children, my driver and my nanny.  My husband was busy working that morning, so I asked my caregiver to come with us so that I could take my daughter swimming in the pool and focus on her safety while I had another pair of hands and eyes to watch my son.

The main plan for the morning was to go swimming since the pool had been open for a few weeks and my little girl loves to swim and we hadn't been yet.  We headed out but the weather was a little off.  Well it turned out to be much colder than the forecast suggested and unfortunately myself and my two little ones were under dressed because it was a bit chili.  Also the sky was full of clouds and it seemed like it would start raining at any moment.  Of course my daughter still wanted to go swimming but I took her over to the pool and showed her that no one was swimming because it was going to rain.  We even felt the water so she could feel how cold it was.  So we all went to the playground and played for a bit and then went into the restaurant so we could have an early lunch.  This is a pretty typical Saturday for us and the plan was to head home after lunch.

My daughter finished lunch and wanted to play on the playground some more but my son was still munching away so I had our caregiver go with her.  I saw a friend who had recently done a trek to Mount Everest base camp and I hadn't talked to her since her return.  So we were chatting about that at about 11:50, when suddenly the ground started shaking.  At first I thought that I was about to pass out but then I started to hear glasses rattle.  I stood there frozen in shock for what seemed like eternity still in denial that this was an earthquake.  I don't know how but then I suddenly snapped out of it and grabbed my son out of his highchair and started trying to walk with him the short distance to get out of the building we were in.  Technically in this situation you are supposed to get down under a table and protect yourself but I panicked and the door was close so that's where I headed.

Walking, let alone walking holding a toddler was no small feat at this point.  The ground was moving violently in every direction.  At this point I was just so scared that I was going to drop my son, or trip and fall on him and hurt him.  I saw others running near me and I called out for someone to "help me I have a baby" but everyone was trying not to fall themselves.  Suddenly I had safely made it a few paces outside of the building and I saw others sitting down outside so I sat down as quickly as I could.  I was never more relieved to be sitting down and know that both my son and myself were safe!  But the ground was still moving rather violently.  The closest descriptions I can come up with are it was like trying to walk on a ship that was rocking hard, or trying to walk during airplane turbulence.

This is a link to a youtube video that shows how hard the ground was moving, note there is a part where a boy falls down and his mother falls on top of him to prevent him from being trampled by the crowd.  This video was taken just a few blocks from where I was, and it also features one of my neighbors.

When the ground finally stopped moving the restaurant manager yelled that he smelled gas and we needed to get far away from the building.  At this point I still hadn't seen my daughter and was starting to panic.  I don't remember exactly what happened next but I think my driver came to find us and took my son so that I could try to go back into the building before it was too dangerous to get my diaper bag and stroller and all of our supplies out, in case the gas caught fire.  Just before I went back in I saw my daughter in the arms of our caregiver and finally knew that she was safe!

When I brought our supplies out everyone was gathering out on the softball field where we were away from the restaurant and it was a wide open space where nothing could fall on us.  We ended up camping out there for the next six hours until we were moved to a safe building that was designed to withstand earthquakes up to 9.0.  We were very lucky that we were at one of the locations that Americans are supposed to go to in times of emergencies like this.  As soon as I could I tried to get a hold of my husband but by then the cell phone lines were jammed.  I tried not to worry as I felt in my heart that he was ok.  About an hour later I found out that he was ok because he had gone down the street to our drivers house and brought his family to stay at our house which was safer through a text message.  And about 4 hours later I finally got a call from him that he was safe and I got to hear it myself.

Overall we were very LUCKY and very BLESSED!  There were lots of people over 9,000 out in the villages outside of town or out on the mountains that lost their lives in this tragedy.  We were all safe and I never felt like I was fighting for my life except for the short walk outside of the building.  I feel that with the weather how it was was a big factor that helped make sure that no one was injured where we were.  If it had been a bright, sunny day as was forecasted, many adults and children would have been enjoying a warm Saturday in the pool.  And after seeing this haunting video of what happened in a pool nearby during the earthquake will forever haunt me.

But the bottom line is that we were safe when so many weren't as lucky!  There was very minimal damage to buildings in our neighborhood and things could have been much worse.  In fact the first time I let myself cry about it was watching footage on CNN of areas that had been affected.  It really opened my eyes to the bias of the media to show you the worst images and stories.  I looked around and could see that things were relatively ok, but if I believed the TV it wasn't.

So that is the shortest version of my story of what happened to me and my family during the earthquake.  I have many more updates to post but I have been trying to think about what to say for this one the longest.  If you have any questions please ask me.