Thursday, December 10, 2009
We've been so busy coping with the problems of putting malkha production in place that we haven't been paying attention to the quantity of fabric now being produced.. and suddenly realized that it's gone up to more than double! Very exciting and gratifying, but of course it also means more marketing.. At the exhibitions and Bazars customers ask us where it is available, but we don't have retail outlets, and in any case would not be able to afford the costs of urban retail at our present margins. It would be against the principles of malkha to have high mark-ups, so what do we do? Invent low-cost delivery channels. We already supply a few customers by mail - we put photographs on the web, they choose & pay through electronic transfer, and we deliver by post or transport.
We also need to scale up our indigo dyeing since there is a waiting list for deep indigo malkha. Its not the dyeing that holds things up but the transport to and from the vat. The indigo dyers are the only remaining family of traditional indigo dyers in Andhra, and they have put up vats for Dastkar Andhra and for Charkha in Karnataka. This picture, one of several documenting the installation of the Charkha vat taken by Pankaj Sekhsaria, shows an indigo pot with fermented indigo dyebath in its newly plastered bed.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
'Development' should take as its premise the valuable repository of skills, capabilities and resources of the Indian countryside and the particular character of our varied and diverse society. Its foolish to discard ecological production practices in which we lead the world, in favour of so-called 'modern' production that is energy-intensive and polluting. That has been the guiding principle of the malkha process.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The clothes can be seen in the Altra Qualita catalogue, and the new range is in production.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
'You guys have created the freedom fabric of the post-industrial age. Its equivalent to khadi for the freedom movement but more sustainable. Its low carbon footprint, decentralised production, and appropriate technology process is actually creating a new synthesis of the dialectic of nature and technology. A synthesis that comes from the colonised south not from the all knowing western university or corporate system. Great going.'
Hope that the malkha 'synthesis of the dialectic of nature and technology', of traditional expertise with IIT trained engineering, will encourage other such efforts. Rural industries owned by rural people, using the whole gamut of natural resources which at present are sold off cheaply to corporate industry within or outside the country... traditional and new skills.. green energy..what a vista..
Thursday, November 19, 2009
For malkha it was encouraging to have repeat customers who have enjoyed wearing what they bought last year. This year most of our sales were in retail, directly to users, though some of them lamented the difficulty of finding tailors. As usual the deep indigo was a sellout. So were Sutanu's prints of swans and butterflies and the alizarin red. Our stripes do better in Delhi than they did in Bangalore, and of course this time for the first time we had different weights from the different weaving centres. Also for the first time we tried the bleached plain, which we are a little hesitant about because it's not natural bleaching [we hope to get to that in time].
One of our European customers is from Friends of SEWA and buys indigo malkha for the SEWA Lucknow women to use for chikan embroidery, sounds wonderful, hope we get to see the end product. Another great fan is Aarti, wife of Tushar of Living Blue. She wore a malkha kurta almost every one of the 10 days of the Bazar, and bought lots more. Thanks to retail, this was our best ever sale so far and we feel quite elated by peoples' admiring comments: we were asked is it was silk, or linen... just shows how wonderful cotton can be if its treated with respect. Now the question is how to make it more easily available.. we're encouraging people to order even small quantities through e-mail which we can send by post.
Monday, November 2, 2009
In the days of Indian cotton textiles' glory, there were many different varieties of cotton fabrics, and the names too were many and varied, and part of the common vocabulary: bafta, nainsukh, dosuti, moree, jamdani, mulmul, chint [morphed into chintz by the Firangs], mashru, himru, and many more. We made up the name malkha by combining the first syllables of mulmul and khadi. We hope as malkha production gets going in different places that each will develop its own variant, for example the malkha made at Magan Sangrahalaya, Wardha, wants to call itself magan malkha.
At present all the malkha produced in Andhra just goes by one name, though it is now coming from 3 different centres, with the fourth installed and soon to start production.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
As a designer, I have been very attracted by the texture and aspect of the malka textiles, as well as the natural colors that you managed to blend in a very smart way, the subtil chiné effects.
Some of us, designers, are concern by the tendancy, nowdays, to work with products which are more man-friendly and less eco-friendly. The fact that in Malka, the cotton does not travel extensively, creating more pollution in India, but is treated locally, adds to the value of the product, its exclusiveness.
A greater number of the foreign customers are more and more concerned about environment and human issues, and Malka can meet the requirements of this market. That is why i was keen, since the beginning on using malka cottons for european market.
Samples of the garments sent to Paris last month fair met a good response, so i will develop more of these products, as top-of–the-range creations are our niche.
Congratulation to the Malka cotton developers for having created a line of products that meets our requirements, as far as quality, esthetic and ethics are concerned.
The yarn is then wound into hanks, and sent off to the dye-house or, if it is to be made into undyed cloth, boiled for strength before going into the pre-loom processes.
About the weaving you'll hear from me later.
We're back into pre-exhibition mode, this time in preparations for Nature Bazar in Delhi at the Indira Gandhi Centre for the Arts [IGNCA], Janpath, from November 5 to 14. And I hope we'll see all our old customers there who so enthusiastically bought malkha last year and wrote appreciative messages in our visitors' book, and new customers too.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
1. Cotton is picked by hand [of course this entire explanation is specific to India, in the U.S. its picked by machine] [I'm not going into cultivation here] and taken to the ginning mill.
2. Ginning means separating the lint from the seed. The proportion by weight is usually around 70% seed and 30% lint. Usually the ginning mill keeps the seed as payment for ginning.
3. Now we come to the difference: in the regular process the lint is steam-pressed into bales, sqeezing the light & fluffy lint into a hard bale of about the density of a block of wood. Malkha avoids this and the following three stages.
4. When the bales arrive in the spinning mills they pass on conveyor belts through coarse, medium and fine-toothed opening. This breaks up the mass into smaller chunks.
5. The chunks or lumps of cotton lint are then blown with great force in the blow-room ... to get the fibres back to their original separate state!
By which time the fibres which started out springy, lively, and lustrous with their capacity for absorbency and colour-holding intact have become dull and lifeless and lost their springiness.
... to be continued
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
".. the baler compresses the cotton into a rigid cubic structure.. bale density varies from 23-28 lbs per cubic ft. This is a highly compressed structure with a lot of inter fibre entanglements...The condensed bale can't be spun... During the blowroom opearations the fibres are literally torn apart from each other by mechanical action. This degrades some properties of the fibre like lustre and feel...
In contrast, the Malkha process bypasses the whole need of the baling process...the carding machine is ingeniously designed to treat the fibres very delicately...The end product, hence, has a better lustre and a softer feel".
Thursday, August 27, 2009
In my personal experience the fine Khadi made from desi cotton, Gossypium arboreum or Kondapatthi as it is known in Andhra, is amazing in its softness and durability. The malkha process aspires to retain these qualities in its cloth, though we have not yet used traditional varieties of cotton.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
"I bought your fabric at Exhibition in Agha Khan Hall.
I am wearing this since last four months and very happy with it.
I need more of this fabric, can you suggest me from where I can buy.."
At present we don't have any outlets for malkha, but can supply to order. You can write to us by post or e-mail; postal address:
Malkha Marketing Trust
201 Sadaf Habitat
Chintal Basti, Khairtabad, Hyderabad 500 004.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The Bazaar is at Gayatri Vihar, Bangalore Palace grounds, from August 7-16.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Here is a picture of our indigo fabric, yarn-dyed in the traditional fermentation vat using no chemicals.
It's a great favourite with malkha customers and there is a long waiting list of customers who have ordered it.
We'll have some on sale at our stall at Dastkar's Nature Bazaar in Bangalore at Bangalore Palace grounds, from August 7-16... see some of you there..
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The first picture of Sutanu's print was rather dark, so here is a better version which he has kindly lightened.
We also use this block for monochromatic prints, which gives a totally different effect. Altogether we have about 15 different variations of this popular design
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Yash, would like to add a shoutbox, but don't know how...
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Handloom weaver households do not have time to make breakfast, since the women are busy with bobbin winding. Little eateries like this one serve dosas and idlis which can be eaten there or taken home. This is our breakfast hotel when we visit Chirala.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Just back from visit to Wardha, where a malkha unit is running. They’re going to make organic malkha khadi spun on hand-operated charkhas from local cotton and I hope they’ll dye it in the lovely natural colours that Mukesh is producing right next door. They want to call it 'magan malkha' from Magan Sangrahalaya where the unit is housed
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Malkha is expanding… besides the senior production unit we now have two more in Andhra, so 2500 metres of malkha, plain, or yarn-dyed in natural colours is now coming off the looms each month. Happily our marketing is keeping up with production and our order book is full.
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