A Pillow Pilgrimage
I've just marked my 39th birthday by launching a line of pillows made from fabrics I sourced in India on a personal trip of discovery. Each of these handloomed ikat fabrics were picked from towering stacks of options at several alleyway markets, packed into my hiking pack and hauled by foot, taxi, train and plane eventually all the way home to Ashland; a startlingly sleepy place to come home to after all the energy that is India.
This was a three week journey, with my pack getting heavier in fabric at each new destination. The trip was not primarily for business but I took every opportunity to dip into each fabric shop I found and plead with the owners to dig out a dozen options only to leave with a couple--the more I saw the pickier I became, and I really needed to see my options spread out in all their glory to make a proper choice. I basically left a mountain of folding and re-shelving in my wake everywhere I went!
I found a wonderful seamstress to work with in Southern Oregon through Craigslist who was endlessly patient with me as I himmed and hawed over every detail. I chose to use the wide selvedge on the backsides to reduce waist, which resulted in an asymmetrical design of pattern, stripes and open color fields as shown on several pillows here. This created endless ways to mix and match the pillows, which is now my favorite thing about them!
What brought me nearest to giving up was finding a pillow form, because I am hopelessly idealistic about creating and maintaining a business that is built on recycling, reducing waist and creating beauty with as little carbon footprint as possible. But I found that purple unicorn of a product from a US pillow manufacturer out of Tennessee that offers all the traditional options PLUS an Eco pillow who’s fill is made of 100% recycled plastic bottles in an unbleached cotton case--Jackpot!
The final step was to differentiate all the color and style options for sale with names. I reflected on my trip to India, reviewed the photos I took while there and selected Indian names that I encountered on my Journey. Each name holds a memory and personal fondness for me; borrowed from people, place and lore as a token of gratitude and appreciation for all the richness of color, culture and devotion India revealed to me.