I have spent much of 2019 thus far looking inwards and reflecting on what’s important in life, what’s important to me, focusing on my daily rituals, which ground me and give me a cadence I crave, so that I can be true to my authentic self and show up every day full of love and inspiration in all that I do. (At least that’s my goal…of course we all have good days and bad…)
Following your bliss and passion are key to finding happiness, key to slowing down and embracing each moment. Life is better when you slow down and pursue things you love. One of my passions is Indian block-printed textiles. Patterns made with wooden blocks, hand printed by skilled artisans, with natural dyes, derived from indigenous plants – indigo, turmeric, hibiscus, pomegranate and ochre. Each print has imperfections that add beauty to the overall artistry.
While block printing was first developed in China roughly 4500 years ago, the practice of block printing is about 2000 years old and trade in cotton cloth is said to have existed between India and Babylon from Buddha’s time. It was on the Indian subcontinent where hand-block fabric reached its highest visual expression.
In home workshops scattered throughout India, you can still find chippas, a caste of printers who continue day after day to stamp lengths of cotton fabric with color using hand-carved wood blocks. They were taught this trade by their parents, who were, in turn, taught by theirs — each generation working almost exactly as the one before, going back at least 300 years. They are truly skilled artisans. The recipes for the plant-based dyes are developed within the families and kept alive for generations. The colors are dependent on the quality of the plants, the water and skill and knowledge of the printing masters.
Last year Krister and I worked with an amazing team in a little factory in India to design our own block-printed textile patterns for linen napkins and tablecloths – and August Table was born. August Table and our block print designs bring together so many passions for me. Passion for connecting with loved ones over a meal, passion for baking and cooking, passion for entertaining, and a passion for trying to inspire others to find joy in the same. I also realize I have a love for styling photographs with our textiles, slowing down in the present to capture a moment of our daily lives.
Additionally, we get great pleasure in knowing through the production of our textiles we are providing a source of income to many village families in an environmentally positive approach with mill made cotton and natural dyes. Using cloth napkins is good for the environment while also bringing a touch of boho elegance to your meal, and the linens get softer and better with each use as they age. A few of my favorite shots from 2018 with our textiles are below – a visual diary of quiet, caught moments, special moments, celebrations and more.
Carrie Allen created this site as a way for people to share stories about things they love. She loves chasing quiet, authentic moments and sharing them with her family and friends. Read more about her inspiration here.