We’re just smitten with Matta’s hand-stitched kantha cosmetic bags that just arrived in our online store. Completely one-of-a-kind, they are handmade out of vintage cotton fabric by artisans in India and are as soft as they are lightweight.
We’ve been throwing all of our favorite essentials into ours and carrying it with us everywhere we go. It makes getting ready to go in the morning just a little easier!
Being a company that works with designers and artisans from all over the world, we’ve been able to travel to some pretty incredible places near and far to meet artisans, draw inspiration and simply absorb and appreciate new and different cultures. And since we love sharing stories, we decided to create a weekly post called “Voyage” to share a travel photo every Friday of places and experiences that have inspired us.
This week’s voyage takes us to Jaipur, India where we learned about the block-printing process from a skilled artisan there (and even got to do a bit of block-printing ourselves!).
We’d love to see the people and places that have inspired you, so we invite you to submit your own travel photos to us at email@example.com to be included in our “Voyage” column. Please be sure to include the location and source of your photo!
Matta founder and designer, Cristina Gitti has always been inspired by the possibilities of handmade design. After first traveling to India in 1995, Cristina founded her first U.S. venture Malatesta, a women’s accessories & clothing company, in 1997.As co-owner and head designer, Cristina drew inspirations for design from her various journeys to India, Italy, Mexico & Japan.
In 2003, Cristina founded Matta, where she combined classic styles, age old techniques and a modern color palate to convey her explorations. Cristina focused on the story each item had to tell and how it changes with each person. Her one of a kind pieces are produced using traditional practices from India, including but not limited to block printing, silk screening, hand-painting, dyeing and intricate hand embroidery.
To create Matta’s one of a kind Jodphur rugs, Cristina travels to India to sort through vintage dresses and saris looking for coordinating shades and pieces with the most interesting embroideries. The pieces are then taken to craftsman in the countryside, who stitch the individual pieces together. Many designers will die entire assembled pieces to get similar colors across the patchwork. However, in the case of Matta’s rugs, each patch in the Jodphur rug is preserved in its original unique condition, with natural threads joining the patches, showcasing the craftsman’s skills. The result is truly one of a kind, authentic pieces that have been hand selected and brought to you by the Histoire team!
Our Deepti Lanterns are FINALLY back in stock! Perfect for Diwali, Halloween, the holidays, you name it, these lanterns are handmade in India from 100% recycled glass and are, not to mention, fair-trade. Get em while they’re hot!
We had the pleasure of connecting with the truly inspirational designer behind the beautiful, one of a kind kantha pillows in our shop - Jeanette Farrier herself. Jeanette left a successful 30 year career in costume design to start Jeanette Farrier in 2003, and we are so glad she did.
Jeanette regularly visits India to personally select suitable antique sari for her hand-stitched Kantha pieces, using her design expertise to put together some of the most stunning combinations of patterns and colors to create her amazing pieces. The ethos behind Jeanette’s work is thatit is women who hold families together andjust as these wonderful textiles are valued and precious, so are the women: they are paid well and are able to work in their own homes and generate income for their families.
Here’s her incredible story:
How did you decide to make the career switch from costume design to founding Jeanette Farrier?
Like most things in life my desire to switch careers was percolating for quite a long time before the decision was finally made. I took the plunge and remortgaged my apartment and made the leap. I had regularly visited India and I suppose my social conscience was awakened, and the industry I worked in seemed less and less appealing. The handicraft skill in India was amazing, and in West Bengal there were women who needed work. I saw I could take the work to them and they could stay in their village, look after their families and make some money. I also loved the idea of re-cycling all those beautiful cotton saris worn soft by so much washing.
I have now been working with 2 groups of women for 6 years, and they have steadily grown and become more established as I have grown. I think the highlight for me was when I heard that a beedi*(a type of cigarette) factory had closed down because the women were now employed by me so they were not available to roll cigarettes anymore!!
*Over 3 million Indians are employed in the manufacture of beedies, a cottage industry that is typically done by women in their homes. Workers roll an average of 500-1,000 beedies per day, inhaling tobacco dust and other volatile components. It is estimated that 325,000 children work rolling beedies despite the manufacture being classified as hazardous work.