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A Pillow Pilgrimage To India

I marked my 39th birthday by launching a line of pillows made from fabrics I sourced in India on a personal discovery trip. Each of these hand-loomed ikat fabrics was 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.

It was a three-week journey, my pack getting heavier with 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. I needed to see the patterns spread out in all their glory to make a choice, and I left a mountain of folding and re-shelving in my wake.

Once home, I found an excellent seamstress to work with who was endlessly patient with me as I hemmed and hawed over every detail. I chose to use the wide selvage on the backsides to reduce fabric waste, which resulted in asymmetrical designs and different patterns from front to back. This choice created endless ways to mix and match the pillows, which is now my favorite thing about them!

With the pillowcases complete, I had to find a pillow form. It takes extra time and energy to do business and create beauty as ecologically as possible, and this decision was no exception; polyester wouldn't cut it. Finally, I found my purple unicorn in Pillowcubes, a US pillow manufacturer out of Tennessee that offers all the traditional options PLUS an Eco pillow with fill made from 100% recycled plastic bottles in an unbleached cotton case--Jackpot!

The final step was to name each pattern style for resale. I reflected on my trip, reviewed the photos I took there, and selected names of people and places I encountered on my Journey. Each one holds a memory and personal fondness for me, adopted in appreciation for all the beauty of color, culture, experience, and devotion that India revealed to me.


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