Sheetal Joshi from The Hues of India, is our featured business today from the Sustainable Home Hub. The Hues of India, as the name suggests, brings bright bold and beautiful colours to your life. An Australian online store, showcasing the various colours from different regions of India, they are all about promoting sustainability while keeping up with current trends and styles using traditional skills and techniques. They offer you homewares, clothing and lifestyle items,both online, at weekend markets and pop up shops. Primarily their products are handmade, and incorporate traditional and ancient embroidery techniques such as Kantha stitch, Kutchi embroidery, Suzaini embroidery, Chikankari embroidery and also block print, Ikat fabrics and natural / vegetable dyeing processes.
The items you will find include quilts and scarves, which can be used as table runners as well, and which are made out of recycled vintage saris and hand embroidered using Kantha stitch. The rugs, table linen, scarves, jackets, handbags and makeup bags are made with hand block print techniques, using vegetable dyes. All products are handmade articles sourced from different regions of India, created by artisans who have the skills handed down to them from generations. By purchasing these products you can be proud of the fact that you are encouraging handicrafts, and providing a living to the talented, skilful artisans.
Most products are a beautiful result of sustainable upcycled or recycled fabric combined with traditional embroideries. Hence using these products not only helps communities to continue their art and have a livelihood, but also encourages the nature lover in you to make contribution to a greener world.
The business operates as an online store and also puts up dainty little shops at markets and fairs. All of the products are the result of recyclable, eco friendly materials and traditional age old techniques.
Scarfs: Silk Kantha scarves are handmade by women artisans from vintage silk saris, they are combination of recycled two layers of separate sari fabric, with fabulous complementary and contrasting colours. These layers are stitched together using kantha stitch, making a stripe pattern. The scarves have a unique texture due to the rich, rippling effect emerging from the kantha stitch across the fabric. Each piece is unique, one of a kind, fully reversible and has a luxurious feel and distinct feminine appeal.
Saree / Fabric Jewellery: Unused material / scrap after making scarfs is recycled into making sustainable Jewellery. The cotton and silk beads are handmade by the skilled women artisans and woven with cotton threads making lightweight, skin friendly neckpieces. This zero waste of the fabric results in beautiful and unique Jewellery.
Clutches: Clutches are a result of recycled vintage fabric of old blouses which have intricate hand embroidery of kutchi work, mirror work and embellished silver thread work with internal new lining. This vintage fabric has been sourced from the nomadic tribal Banjara people from the Kutch region, also known as gypsies of India. The old and new fabric is cleverly designed into a modern and sustainable handmade clutch.
Rugs: Indigo rugs are made of 100% cotton and handwoven by artisans using traditional dyeing technique and wood block printing, featuring symmetry design. These are block printed by dabu printing technique and dyed in an indigo vat. Bagru block printing traditionally uses vegetable dye colors such as indigo/dabu (a mixture of mud resist dabu and indigo dip dyeing techniques). Once the fabric has been printed with the dabu paste (mixture of mud), it is sprinkled with sawdust and left to dry in the sun, then dip dyed in a vat of indigo and set to dry. The dabu mixture then washes off and the fabric then displays the pattern stamped in the dye resist. This process can be repeated several times to get several shades of indigo in different simple patterns across the fabric.
How did you start the business and what inspired you?
Since my childhood I was fascinated by handmade things. I learned hand embroidery at a very early age from my aunt and loved making sarees, bed sheet sets, table cloth, etc.. This endless creativity and freedom of expression though hand made things has given birth to “The Hues of India”
I personally hand pick the unique treasures from various regions in India. All the products are created by artisans who have learned the skills from their parents which has been passed down the generations.
I live in Sydney with my husband, with his support and inspiration I am enjoying what I do.
What are your thoughts on sustainability and how is this part of your business and own home?
Being born and brought up in India, recycling was always a part of life. Using old sarees and recycling them into quilts is what I grew up seeing and learning. I loved designing the dresses, made from cut piece of fabric, a creative process and has resulted in unique and cost friendly clothing. So this has been a base for launching “The Hues of India“ – where the products are sourced and recycled on the principles of sustainability.
Do you have any tips for other people wanting to create a sustainable home?
- I recycle coffee, jam, pasta sauce jars and use them to refill pulses, spices etc.
- I carry cloth bags with me for shopping to avoid usage of plastic bags.
- Using cloth napkins and kitchen towels instead of paper towels is what I do.
- And call me old fashioned, but I use handkerchief instead of tissues, and I have lovely collection of hand embroidered ones.