About

I am a textiles designer and researcher. I love discovering and documenting textiles from around the world and have a particular passion for Indian textiles. In 2012 I completed a Masters by Research focussing on the development of designs in the ajrakh block printing of Gujarat for contemporary markets. I am now studying the development of traditional Indian handloom weaving for a PhD. See some of my research papers here.

Travels in Textiles is an outlet for disseminating this research in a personal and accessible way, as well as covering more broadly hand crafted textiles from around the world. The aims of Travels in Textiles are as follows:

  • To discover, document, highlight and celebrate textile craft traditions and textiles artisan groups in far flung corners of the world.
  • Tell stories of particular artisans or artisan groups.
  • To focus on the challenges of traditional textile crafts in a fast modernising and globalising world and the political, economical and social challenges the artisans face.
  • To connect designers, writers, travellers, collectors, researchers and artisans with artisans in need of a market or outlet for their work.
  • To provide an educational resource for all of the above, as well as a platform for all of the above to promote their work
  • To achieve the above through documentary articles, photo-journalistic articles, academic critical writing, practical how-to guides, exhibition reviews, interviews with prominent figures in the field of craft textiles, travel journals and book reviews.

N.B The header image on the homepage of this site is part of a bediyo – a shawl or blanket from Kachchh, Gujarat, which is made in a single day from the warping and bobbin filling to the final finishing. Many people are involved, the weaver fasts and the bediyo has to be ready for the evening puja (prayers). This process is practiced on a day of the black moon during the Navrati festival. This pieces is in the collection of Vankar Shamji Vishram Valji, Bhujodi village, Kachchh.

29 Comments

  1. Fabulous post that you made…thank you you sharing !!
    Thank you too to textile blog too for finding you 🙂

    I paint walls for many years but love textiles very much
    great source of inspiration for colors and patterns
    All the Best
    Sylvie

  2. Good Morning,
    I have just discovered your blog and am greatly enjoying your approach to exploring textiles. I am a passionate enthusiast and collector of batik from the north coast of Java hence my interest in your blog. Javanese batik was so very much influenced by the cloths from Gujarat, as the Pasisir became the meeting place and home of traders from all parts of the world.
    I would like to invite you to my blog: and share with you the wonderful batik cloths from this region.
    Thank you sincerely, Greg.

    • Thanks for your comment. Yes, and cloths from Gujarat found their way to Java too. There was such a rich trade along the Indian Ocean. I love discovering the origins of patterns and motifs and finding similarities in designs from one country to another. You’re blog is great, and really informative. I’d love to know more about Javanese batik so will definitely have a good read. I’ve shared your blog on my Travels in Textiles Facebook page too.

  3. Hi Ruth:

    What a delightful site. I’d like to read more about your research. I am planning to visit India later this year and I’d like to visit local centers of Gujarati and Rajasthani textiles (block printed in particular). I am planning to visit Anokhi in Jaipur and the villages they use for their textiles. Can you recommend places in Gujarat that may be similar?
    Thanks

    • I’m not sure you’ll get this, as I realise I’m sending it very late. I’ve only just seen it due to the fact I’m still learning this website management stuff, sorry! But if you do, I hope that my recent blog posts may help you to find good places to go in Gujarat. Ajrakhpur and Dhamadka are good villages to go to see the craft of block printing in practice. Bhuj is 6 hours from Ahmedbad and the best place to centre yourself to see the crafts of Kachchh. You can find lots of local textiles in the main Shroff bazaar. If you visit the Aina Mahal tourist office at the top of Shroff bazaar and say what crafts you want to see, the guy there is very helpful (I think his name his Pranod Jethi if I remember right). Its a case of getting shared jeeps, buses or rickshaws out to the villages. If you stay somewhere like the Gangaram hotel (where I always stay and is cheap but comfortable and friendly) you’re bound to meet with similar minded people. If you need any more info, please email me: ruth@travelsintextiles.com

  4. You are doing amazing job. I loved your blogs!

    I have also created a platform to connect buyers and artisan through selling their craft. Please visit my website. Thanks!

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment. I’m pleased you’ve enjoyed my blog.

      I had a brief look at your website and it looks great too! Looks like you do some really good work. I will definitely bookmark your site and hopefully be in touch again soon.

  5. Hai
    I am very happy by knowing your blog .I would like to do block printing on my own for my own purpose so that I want your guidance about the same.

  6. love the way u explored and documented. very detailed, contained… keep posting. As world is full of theses beautiful crafts practiced since ages …

  7. You might be interested to know that I filmed Maneklal carving the ajrakh blocks using a bow saw in January 2000. I show him in my DVD Ajrakh along with the printing process in Dhamadkar.
    At the same time I filmed the making of the mirrors used in embroidery and there use in embroidery around Bhuj. Both dvds, Mirrorwork and Ajrakh are available from me.

    • Hi Janet,
      Good to hear from you and know that you’ve been documenting this work. It would be great to see the film you made of Maneklal’s block making. Thanks for letting me know, Ruth

  8. good day,
    I will be travelling to India in December on a 3 month voyage of textile research for personal use and interest. I am happy to have found your site and I look forward to reading your blog.

    christine

  9. Hi Ruth, I’m a student of Flame University, Pune, India and I have read and been allured by your extensive research on Ajrakh Block Printing. A group of students from our university are doing a research study known as DIP – Discover India Program and our topic of research is the evolution of Ajrakh Block Printing. We would be extremely grateful if you could give us an interview via skype as your immense knowledge about Ajrakh will help us a lot in our research work.
    Thank you and awaiting your reply.

  10. Hi Ruth and every textile lover reading this,

    I wish I could also say, ‘I do block printing’ or ‘I do Batik’ or ‘I can weave hand loom cloth’! I have always loved fabric and am fascinated by the different printing techniques. But despite being an Indian I could never visit any of these places such as Kuchh, Ajrakhpur, Bhuj, Jaipur etc; nor could I pursue a University degree in a related field when I was young. Now I want to learn about Indian textiles. Where can I start? Is there any online affordable and reliable course? I know the best way to learn is by meeting these artisans, but travelling alone is not an option. Are there any group travels from within India to such places? Please guide! Anyone?

    Thank you Ruth.

    • Hi Sona,
      Sorry for my slow reply. I don’t know of any such online course that teaches about Indian textiles. The best way is to travel and meet the artisans and take part in workshops. Do you have one particular craft you’re interested in? There are many guided tours, the details of which I can email to you. In the meantime keep searching the internet as there are many useful resources there, and take a look at my recommended books.
      Best,
      Ruth

  11. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.I will remember to bookmark your blog and will often come back from now on. I want to encourage you to continue your great
    work, have a nice afternoon!

  12. So happy to have found your blog by chance. Everything you write echoes my own (re(search), curatorial work and textile crafting endeavor. More to share. Joy to you.

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