Friday, January 22, 2010

FROM INDIA TO FRENCHTOWN...HANDICRAFT SKILLS IN BOTH PLACES

What a joy to see the tapestry quilt that Pete and I bought on one of our many trips to India together. We had traveled to northern India with our two daughters, and had the opportunity to visit some local artisans. The handicrafts they had created with their own hands, some with very rudimentary tools, were just extraordinary. Just looking at these pieces, and then having the opportunity to actually touch them, to feel the history behind each carving, each stitch...extraordinary. And what made it that much more special, was that we knew that whatever article we were touching, had been created through visual, tactile, and verbal memory; an inter-generational tradition of passing down their family's skill-set.

Truly from the moment we took the boards off the facade of the building and had a chance to take in the scope and breadth of the building, Pete and I knew that we would want to mount and frame this beautiful tapestry quilt to share with all our new friends in Frenchtown. This town has such a community of artists, of appreciation for all things old, hand-made and even foreign, that we just couldn't wait to choose a frame, background, etc. Well, with everything else that took place in just our enormous effort to open our doors barely two months after we took over ownership, the tapestry took a backseat. But it was not forgotten. Oh no. In fact, Marlon Aranha, our General Manager, will gladly share tales with you of how many mistakes we made trying to get this artwork on our wall. Frustrating? An understatement. But now that it is proudly displayed in our private dining room, it was all well worth it. My incessant calls to Marlon for updates, his follow-up on the work, the on-again-off-again mounting...all worth it. You really must drop by to see it. It's centuries old, and yet, the colors used (which eerily match the colors throughout our building), are vibrant and alive.

And this is the fun part! Not only did Pete and I decide to share a piece of our travels by displaying this piece of art at The National Hotel, but we also decided that the frame should be a part of our own home. Yes! In fact, Dan Maltby, owner of Maltby Construction in Kingwood Township, and a master carpenter who has done a lot of restoration work for properties in the Princeton area, as well as a lot of work for us on our 1850s farmhouse, and also helped us with a couple of projects a The National Hotel, used some pretty old wood from our farmhouse, to create the frame. And I cannot leave out Glass Castle, who helped us with cutting the right odd-size glass for the frame, to actually offering to mount it for us. Thank you Glass Castle and thank you Bryan, our wonderful staff member who pulls double-duty by working for Glass Castle too. The tapestry, centuries old from India, looks gorgeous in our private dining room.

We hope you'll drop by to see it. It's been a long process to have it framed and mounted, but when you see the tapestry quilt, you'll know it was worth it. When I look at it, I can almost see the artisans in northern India, working to save the little worn-out pieces of clothing from their ancestors, in order to do a tapestry quilt from which generations of handicraft skills are passed. What a treasure we found in our travels. We just love being a part of the energy that participating in microfinancing of sorts (on a very small scale on our part) creates. The joy and feeling of accomplishment you see in their faces is unforgettable. Please do stop by and let us know what you think. We'd love to have you post your feedback on this blog.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you "boniourkee". I'm working on my next post & I think I'll have to split it into 2, b/c there's so much more to share!

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