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POKHARA

I’m back to where Matka was conceived, exactly 2 years ago.

Pokhara, Nepal.

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COMUNAL_STORE

Comunal Store in Girona (Spain) is now stocking a selection of Matka’s pieces. We couldn’t be happier.

Photo credit: Comunal Store.

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MATKA_WABISABI

“Things Wabi-sabi can appear coarse and unrefined. They are usually made from materials not far removed from their original condition within, or upon, the earth and are rich in raw texture and rough tactile sensation”.

Matka is the term used in India for rough hand-loomed silk fabric. It’s made from thick raw silk yarns and it is characterized by its slubs and natural irregularities in the weave.

_ Matka & Wabi-sabi Series_

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NOVEMBER

We are proudly presenting the new one off pieces of Matka’s collection.

We heartily appreciate all the efforts made by our artisans, overcoming all the difficulties caused by the – still on going – blockade in Nepal.

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no petrol

| Nepal, 6 months after the earthqueake |

Anand lives in Kathmandu, he is one of MATKA’s providers and the person from Nepal I’m speaking with the most lately.

He has been one of the people to inform us, from the ground, about the conditions they have been living in after April 25th.

Most of the times, his words would be filled with admirable optimism, even laughter.

But every now and then he would go from hope to despair within a few hours.

In the morning of May 6th, he was writing:

“Today is the first day of the rest of our lives, new beginning, new hope, and a better future”.

In the evening of the same day:

“Now that the earthquake is over things are getting scary. We don’t know what the future holds for us … Everybody is afraid of disease spreading. My mind is blank. Cannot think. I’m scared my best efforts would not be enough to support the people who depend on me.”

But he could not know it wasn’t over.

On May 12th a second powerful earthquake (7.3 magnitude) hit Nepal with an epicenter near Namche Bazaar, close to Mount Everest.

Two weeks after that, they were still getting, at least, 4 aftershocks every day.

By this time, Nepal wasn’t on the news anymore. In order to be updated, we had to either look for the information or ask the people directly.

Something similar is happening now with the current gas and fuel blockade that they are facing.

Nepal relies, almost entirely, on India for its oil and gas and now the border between the 2 countries is blocked.

On October 1st, I received a first email from Anand saying:

“So sorry I was not able to read your email. I have been in the petrol line all day [9 hours] and finally got 3 lts.”

By the 8th, he wrote:

“I am very sorry to inform you that everything in Nepal has come to a stand still. India has blocked everything that is coming to Nepal. The country has ran out of fuel, electricity, food, cooking gas and all necessity items. Schools have closed down because they do not have fuel to transport students. Government offices are closing from Sunday. Flights to Nepal have been cancelled because the plane cannot refuel in Nepal. We cannot dye any more fabrics because of lack of fuel. Even big shipment which crosses 100 Kg. have been stopped because the planes refuse to load them.
All the workers have left because the city could run out of food soon.”

The reason to all this :

On September 16th, Nepal passed a long – debated constitution, containing several controversial clauses. (For further detailed information read  “Why is Nepal’s new constitution controversial?” )

India insists that they are not responsible for the blockade and blames ethnic groups from the Terai who are  protesting against the Constitution for dividing Nepal into seven new states, “slicing through their ancestral homeland.”

As Abby Seiff explains in Time:

“ Regardless of intention, the impact has been substantial. In early October, Nepal’s scant reserves neared exhaustion and the government was forced to introduce fuel rationing. Since then, the effects have spread to every sector. At local markets, food prices have gone up — 30%, 50%, 100%.”

In fact, Anand paid 10 USD for one liter of fuel last week, in a country where a teacher’s monthly salary ranges between 150 – 300 USD.

In conclusion, Nepal’s reality 6 months after the devastating earthquake is getting (even more) complicated.

In these days, they are celebrating Dashain, the longest and most auspicious festival in the Nepalese calendar.

Unfortunately, like our dear friend Minu wrote  2 days ago, it’s not being a happy one.

We hope this difficult situation will be resolved swiftly, before winter arrives;  especially, in the high – altitude areas where communications get cut off by snowfall.

There are still thousands of families waiting for shelter.

Sources: www.bbc.co.uk / www.theguardian.com / www.economist.com / www.time.com / www.un.org / www.thehimalayantimes.com / www.aljazeera.com / www.wikipedia.org

Image: Reuters / Navesh Chitrakar.

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HOLE & CORNER

Since Issue no. 6 of Hole & Corner arrived in the post a few weeks ago, it has accompanied me in cafes, trains, and planes.

I love going through its pages and find inspiring stories, such as John Allen’s.

HOLE AND CORNER

Textile designer and weaver John Allen was head of the Royal College of Art’s knitwear department until 1995.  Twenty years later, at age of 81, he seems to have started a new career.

He was at the Millinery Works Gallery (Islington, London) working on his exhibition ‘British Landscapes’, when he met
Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson.

The collection consisted of colorful wall carpets inspired by the countryside. It hadn’t been yet displayed but Anderson happened to see on the floor one of the pieces that Allen had forgotten to put away.

To make a short story even shorter, those carpets have now been turned by Anderson into Loewe’s knitwear, scarves, bags, wallets, beach towels, and espadrilles.

LOEWE

“As Allen tells it, the collaboration with Jonathan Anderson for Loewe came about through pure happenstance. “ says H&C editor Mark Hooper.

Coincidences like this make life magical.

Cover photograph: Laurence Ellis. // John Allen’s images: Alan Clarke. // Loewe’s : Jamie Hawkesworth.

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CAPE COD

I was invited to a dream holiday in Cape Cod  (Massachusetts, USA) and had the most wonderful time.

Feeling so grateful.

CAPE COD

Wake up call at 5:30 am to walk across the 1 1/2 mile breakwater in Provincetown, before the sunrise.

The color change of the scenery was breathtaking.

CAPE COD

Low season was key to have stunning Marconi Beach for ourselves.

CAPE COD

Stars, campfire and s’mores in Head of the Meadow Beach.

CAPE COD

A holiday in which requiremet no. 1 was watching the sunrise and requirement no. 2 was watching the sunset.

BOSTON

Going back to civilization (Boston, in this case) wasn’t as dramatic as expected.

BOSTON

The store Good, with a thoughtful selection of new and vintage items, was one of my best finds in Charles Street (Beacon Hill, Boston).

Hand-picked pieces of clothing and accessories, jewelry, home decor, and a curated assortment of books and magazines that I loved.

Staff was wonderful, which made it an even more pleasant stop.

Featured in the picture above, founder Paul Niski.

BOSTON

Only a few steps away is Tatte for excellent coffee, delicious cakes, pastries, sandwiches, and brunch.

(Images taken from Tatte’s website).

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MILANO

I was in Milan for the weekend visiting a dear friend that I hadn’t seen in 10 years. He took me to so many nice places, but the one that has stayed in my heart is Un Posto a Milano (La Cascina Cuccagna),  a beautiful converted farmhouse located near Porta Romana. The restaurant offers a great selection of ‘km. 0’ homemade food and freshly- squeezed juices. There is also a guest house with 16 beds distributed in rooms facing the rural courtyard, where they grow their own veg.

An unexpected green and peaceful place in bustling Milan that I highly recommend.

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OPORTO

Brief visit to charming Porto, Portugal.

OPORTO

My favourite find: Coraçao Alecrim – The loveliest one of a kind shop in Porto. Created by Filipa Alves and Rita Dixo.

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Byssus

“Silk is usually made from the cocoons spun by silkworms – but there is another, much rarer, cloth known as sea silk or byssus, which comes from a clam. Chiara Vigo is thought to be the only person left who can harvest it, spin it and make it shine like gold.”

[But she does not sell it]

Byssus -

Keep reading …

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Cabo de Gata 9

| Summer 2015 |

Cabo de Gata 8

Cabo de Gata 5

Cabo de Gata 7

I can’t think of a better summer plan than going with my dear friend Tete and her camper van to Cabo de Gata (Almería, Spain).

Cabo de Gata 2

We made it once for the sunrise. Unbeatable.

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ART HELPS NEPAL

We are so thrilled to be a part of this.

A beautiful fundraising initiative that will take place in Vigo (Galicia, Spain) from June 17th – June 30th.

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PETERSHAM2

Petersham Nurseries is probably the most special find so far since I moved to London 8 months ago.

PETERSHAM4

This haven of peace is located beside Petersham Meadows and near Richmond Park, Surrey.

PETERSHAM1

Astier de Villatte display at Petersham Nurseries shop.

RICHMONDWild deers roam freely in Richmond Park, the largest Royal Park in London.

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MINU IN GORKHA

It’s been one month since the devastating 7.8  magnitude earthquake struck Nepal.

Minu is our very first tailor’s daughter in law. She works in the Aamaghar Pathsala project, a school in the rural village of Pumdi-Bhumdi, near Pokhara. She is now distributing supplies and giving psychological support to the communities hit by the earthquake. She sent us these photos while visiting Gorkha, one of the most affected regions.

On behalf of Matka’s Nepal Aid Campaign, we are sending her part of the benefits obtained from the sales of the current collection.

The other part of the benefits are being sent to Vishnu, the tailor who made our latest pieces. He lives in Kathmandu and lost his house during the earthquake.

He sent us this picture to thank you all for your support!

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 MICHAEL HOPPEN1 MICHAEL HOPPEN2

Discovering Michael Hoppen Gallery in Chelsea, London.

MICHAEL HOPPEN

‘Frida’ by Ishiuchi Miyako. Michael Hoppen Gallery, London. Until July 12th.

“Following Kahlo’s death in 1954 her husband Diego Rivera began placing her personal effects into the bathroom of their Mexico City house, “The Blue House”, which later became the Museo Frida Kahlo. Rivera gave instructions that this room should remain sealed until fifteen years after his death and it in fact remained unopened until 2004 when the museum decided to organise and catalogue the contents. Ishiuchi Miyako was invited to photograph these artefacts, over 300 unseen relics of Kahlo’s life.”  Continue reading …

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Only a couple of days ago we found out that Vishnu, the tailor who made our latest pieces, lost his house during the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25th. Now the benefits obtained from the sale of the D44 Midi Silk Skirt (one of his creations) will be sent to help him rebuild a new home.

Thank you all for supporting Nepal !

*All donations are being sent directly to the casualties.

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DONATIONS NEPAL-

Please, note that this will only apply to the items available on the website and not elsewhere.  We know a few NGOs that are working on the ground at the moment but we will be very happy to hear your suggestions of where you would like the donations to be sent.  In any case and regardless of our offer, we would like to remind you that every contribution counts, so please, consider donating. A lot of help is needed. Thank you all!

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PRAY

All our prayers are with Nepal. Kali Gandaki River, January 2014.

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BR11

Finally made it to Brighton. Here the remains of the West Pier.

BR5

First thing on my list : Follow Leida’s (Warp & Weft) suggestion and visit Igigi General Store.

BR1

Stunning.

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The General Store has a bright and cozy cafe on the top floor and  a couple of doors away is Igigi Women’s Boutique with a fine selection of clothing. Highly recommended.

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In Pelicano I had possibbly the best coffee since I arrived to the UK. Though it’s a pity I only had coffee.

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HC

After a hectic week,  today I found peace in these pages. Issue 04, Hole and Corner Magazine.

HC6

HC1

Dale Rogers’ fossil, crystal  and mineral collection. Images by Dan Tobin Smith.

HC3

Julia Jarvis interviews Adele Stafford, founder of Voices of Industry, a project that I truly admire. Images by Backyard Bill.

HC4

So delighted to encounter Amy Revier once again. Images by Jake Curtis.

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Warp & Weft

So happy to announce that Warp & Weft, located in the heart of the Old Town of Hastings (East Sussex, UK) will stock a selection of our one- off pieces. It’s such a gift to be working with talented Leida Nassir-Pour, founder of this beautiful and inspiring space.  Image on the right by Claire Richardson.

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HANDWEAVERS

At the Handweavers Studio & Gallery in Seven Sisters you can find looms, yarns, weaving tools, chemical and natural dyes, a great selection of books and magazines … And you can also find all sorts of animal and vegetable unspun fibers such as wool, silk, bamboo, milk protein, soya, seacell, ramie, etc. The unspun fiber shown above is Tussah silk.

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     HASTINGS

HASTINGS

Lovely visit to Hastings, a small fishermen’s town in East Sussex. The perfect place for an antiques treasure hunt. Last two pictures above belong to the captivating  AG Hendy Home Store.

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HAMPST -LIVINGSTONE

 One of the most inspiring finds so far in London.  Livingstone Studio, Hampstead.

HAMPST HAMPSTED HAMSPT

Hampstead, London.

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SELVEDGE

Selvedge Magazine is an endless source of information. Here reading about the Herero tribe of Namibia captured in  Jim Naughten‘s  book ‘Conflict and Costume’.

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EGG SHOP 2 EGG SHOP

Egg Trading. A hidden gem in Kinnerton Street (Belgravia, London).

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HAPPY HOLI

Happy Holi from Notting Hill!

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MAROC 7 MAROC 8

Getting inspired in Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech.

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MAROC 9

Find of the day, Marrakech.

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Waking up in Marrakech.

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BEHIND THE SCENES

Behind the scenes with photographer Liberto Fillo and talent Joanna Flaczynska. Hair: Delphine Bonnet / Make up: Snowkei.

Joanna is wearing the Natural Silk Shawl.

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TOTE

Making new tote bags.

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AMY REVIER

AMY

Amy Revier performing her art at Hostem (Shoreditch, London). Pure inspiration.

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NEPAL

NEPAL

NEPAL

Remembering the trek to Langtang, Nepal.

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MACEDONIA

What initially was a rough and thick kind of silk, it ended up embracing a lot more. Since its launch a few days ago, we’ve found out that MATKA also means: MOTHER in Polish and Czech. JOURNEY in Finnish. WOMB in Macedonian.

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MATKA

Introducing MATKA to the world. Photo: Marta Moreiras.

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WEAVING COURSE_*

Weaving course with Anna Champeney. Casa dos Artesáns, Cristosende, Ribeira Sacra (Ourense, Spain).

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Behind the scenes of our first photo shoot with photographer Marta Moreiras in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.