Today officially marks the start of Summer: a great time to refresh and add some colour to your home. So if you’re searching for seasonal accessories to brighten your outdoor or indoor space then hunt no more: our collection of hand block printed homewares will have you dreaming of long lazy, hazy Summer days and they’re perfect for adding a touch of hand crafted beauty to any interior. Mixing and matching block print with textiles of different colours and textures creates an individual, relaxed style. Our block printed products are created for us in Jaipur using traditional block printing techniques (as tried and tested by ibbi co-founders Eliza and Anna on their travels through Rajasthan earlier this year!) If you love our table linen, quilts and home accessories then we thought you might like to see a little about how they are made:
ibbi co-founder Eliza: block printing in Jaipur
And ibbi co-founder Anna block printing too!
The process of block printing has been practiced in Rajasthan for over 500 years, introduced by the Chhipa community from the village of Bagru, an area now famous for its vegetable dye block printing. The physical Sheesham wooden blocks are meticulously carved by hand, with each colour in the design carved in a separate block. The outline block or the ‘rekh’ is usually the most intricate. Once the colours have been chosen and have been poured in to wooden trays, the process of stamping the pattern on to the stretched cotton fabric begins. Each colour pattern is stamped on to the fabric individually by the Printing Master and the tiny irregularities, the subtle gaps or overlaps are a beautiful reminder of the intricate process of creating this iconic product. The block printing villages are renowned for the rhythmic ‘tock-tock’ sound of the wood blocks stamping patterns on to fabric. A wonderful reminder to all visitors of the significance of this stunning artisan work.
So it’s farewell to the Summer and time to cosy on down and embrace the Autumn! And as textiles are such a quick and easy way to add comfort to any room, we’re delighted with our latest collection of little vintage kantha quilts (queen size kanthas arriving very soon too..we’ll keep you posted!). Kantha quilts have been created in Bangladesh and West Bengal for over 500 years. They’re made by stitching together layers of vintage saris with a ‘kantha’ running stitch, often in a bold contrasting coloured cotton thread and every kantha is entirely unique, oozing cool style and timeless charm! They’re great for uni rooms as they’re very easy to maintain and are machine washable too. So be bold with your hues and get ready to drape away: you can throw little kanthas over your tables, chairs and sofas and queen size kanthas are fabulous as chic bedspreads. You may not want to colour up your entire home but you can always dip your toes in by adding a few colourful hints here and there. Take a peek…
It’s ‘Fair Trade Fortnight’! So what a perfect time to be celebrating the arrival of our fabulous new Kiondo sisal baskets from Kenya. Colourful, unique, practical and oh so pretty, these baskets are one-off beauties and we just wanted to say that it’s a pleasure for us to support the work of the weaving cooperatives involved in creating these one-of-a-kind treasures.
We’re not the biggest gift givers at ibbi but we do love a Mother’s Day treat! So just in case you’re struggling to find a small something to help you celebrate on March 6th, here’s a few suggestions. We’ve chosen some of our favourite products with interesting stories, all made by artisans in marginalised communities, who we like to support. Read on for a bit of ibbi inspiration..
Why not look at:
Our hand painted espresso cups: they’re pretty, available in lots of gorgeous colours, have come all the way from South Africa and because they’re hand painted, each is unique. March 6th is definitely the day to ditch the old cracked mug with amusing slogan and serve the first delicious cup of coffee of the day in something seriously pretty!
Our metal trays: have a look at our amazing quirky metal trays. They’re available in different colours and sizes, they’re fair trade and hand crafted in Morocco, right on the edge of the Sahara. They’re stylish, unique and pretty indestructible too! Pop coffee, hot croissants, the Sunday papers and a small bunch of something handpicked from the garden on to one of these and your perfect start to Mother’s Day will be sorted.
Our baskets: our beautiful fair trade Kiondo sisal baskets from Kenya are always a hit. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and they’re great for those endless bits and bobs we all seem to have. Ideal for storing veggies, wooden spoons and spatulas in the kitchen, cotton wool balls in the bathroom. house keys, car keys, dog treats. dog leads, waste paper, kindling, endless toiletries..in fact you name it and our baskets will sort it.
Our hand painted ceramic bottles: they’re perfect for oils or great simply as stand alone decorative accessories. They look stunning when grouped together and will give your window sill, kitchen island or dining table a beautiful splash of colour!
A framed photo: whether it’s of you, the kids or your beautiful pets, a framed photograph is always special. And as we’re always looking for products with a story we especially love our recycled metal photo frames which have been a firm ibbi favourite since we discovered them last year. Lots of colours and sizes available and they look particularly good grouped together to create a stylish gallery on any wall space. So: wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, have a great day on the 6th and Happy Mother’s Day from us all! And remember, we’ve 20% off until March 6 2016. Simply use the voucher code: mum
Our new hand crafted, hand painted ‘Frilly’ jugs have just arrived from our favourite pottery in South Africa and they’re selling fast. We thought they’d make good pressies this Christmas and you seem to think so too! They’re perfect for your milk or winter warming custard. Or why not use as a vase: they look so pretty filled with festive flowers on your breakfast table too. Each jug is unique and there’s lots of colours to choose from.
In the republic of Senegal on the West African coast, communities are becoming increasingly creative when it comes to matters of recycling. Orange peel is used to create perfume. Cola, coffee and beer cans are used to create a whole host of home accessories including mirrors and ashtrays. And apparently there are even dancers just over the border in Mali who make costumes from them. Metals are constantly being recrafted in so many beautiful ways and at ibbi right now we are thrilled to be able to bring you a fabulous new collection of metal bowls from Senegal, made from creatively recycled oil drums. These highly polished beauties come in a vast range of gorgeous colours and each one is unique. Seriously, no two bowls are the same. We think they look wonderful on coffee tables and in hallways, piled high with Christmas pine cones, walnuts or delicious tangerines and they make perfect presents if you are looking for something slightly different. We hope you like them too.
At ibbi we love our products: they’re not only beautiful but they all have stories to tell. And our new collections of Kiondo baskets from the weaving groups in Kasigau, Kenya are no exception. By buying these products which have been created by small scale crafts people, you’re helping to uplift communities, create employment and support sustainability. The arid rural area of Kasigau is home to many talented weaving groups. Most of the weavers are women, who tend to be the main breadwinners for their families. Their primary source of income is through subsistence farming but when the rains are late or don’t come at all, it is devastating for them. Creating alternative revenue streams through practices such as weaving is therefore of the utmost importance. We are so pleased to be supporting these extraordinary people through trade in a very small way. Every basket created is entirely unique in colour, size and pattern. No two are ever the same. Kiondo baskets add a fabulous splash of colour to your home. They make great Christmas gifts and are ideal for kitchens and bathrooms: store your spatulas and spoons, decant your veggies and fill them to the brim with your bathroom bits!