Pithabhai, cotton farmer in Gujarat, and his family
Story G – The Farmer’s Story
The story begins far away in a small farm in Saurashtra, near Sokhada village where Pithabhai grows cotton.
Pithabhai and his family work in his cotton farm. He owns 14 small cotton farms. He appoints seasonal laborers from around the villages. The season begins in October and continues for about four months. Initially they water the plants, do the weeding and sometimes put fertilizer. The plants have pink, beautiful flowers and then it has buds. The buds have seeds and balls of cotton. They pop and cotton comes out!
Cotton growing in Gujarat
Interestingly he also owns a small ginnery nearby where the cotton pods are processed. During the season, cotton pods are hand picked by farm laborers every week, when they grow fully and pop. They are brought to the ginnery. There they are cleaned and cotton is separated from seeds, stem and other vegetation and impurities.
Pithanbhai also gets cotton pods from about 40 other farmers from this area for ginning.
This is not a full-fledged ginnery. Only carding and drawing is done. This is when cotton is separated from other impurities, made into big bundles and put in plastic bags for sending out for combing and roving.
The cottonseeds are separated and they are sent to oil mills to be crushed and cottonseed oil is taken out. This is used for eating and it has many other industrial uses.
A lady with raw cotton
A child sits on raw cotton
Pithabhai says, “I have lived my life growing cotton and living in cotton farms during the season. We call it White gold! One needs special knowledge to grow best cotton pods on a plant.
The ginning is different. Machines do it. We make sure that the cotton strands disperse and the workers do not get affected. They have been with us for generations.”
Pithabhai the cotton farmer and friends at the cotton plant
Story 5 – Spinner’s Story
My name is Jyoti. I am 20 years old. After finishing school I have leant to spin on Ambar charkha. Two girls from my village used to come here and I joined them! We have fun working together. I like spinning because I am very fast and most of the time I am on the top of the list!! This makes me happy….
Once the cotton is converted into rovings, the co-operatives buy from designated ginning mills. The spinners working in several nearby villages have their turns to visit the co-op on a designated day. Many times a bus service is also provided for their transport. Otherwise they use local transport. They bring the hanks of yarns they have spun. They are weighed, the quality is checked and they are recorded in each spinners booklet. Further instructions are given and money is paid. Then they are given out the next lot of rovings to spin.
Ladies spinning cotton
Cotton being spun
Some ladies prefer to spin at the co-op. This is due to lack of space at home or they live nearby and prefer to work in a group. They have a good time while working!!
Jyoti says, “This is my own work.
I am not employed like a worker in a factory. “
Story 6 – Weaver’s Story
Geeta weaving cotton
Hello, my name is Geeta.
I have been weaving on a paddle loom for the last one year.
I was doing spinning work before. I was selected by my co-op and they sent me and six other girls to Pune for training to learn working on a paddle loom. It was a two months training. We had to learn new things and practice all the time. But now I can do that well and my earnings have improved.
checked cotton being woven
Geeta says, “ I weave plain cloth as well as checked and stripes. It is complicated. When correct patterns come out I am happy!!
I am proud of my work.”
Cotton weaver and loom
STORY M – Designed by MORALFIBRE
MORALFIBRE has been a production partner with Where Does It Come From, based in India. While looking at the printed fabric collection, Jo liked the Moose prints and she wanted MORALFIBRE to design stoles and scarves for them for Christmas.
After few days of design explorations and brainstorming, Sanjay and Shailini developed several sketches of stoles and sent them across to Jo for her response. Christmas green and red colors were selected for printing the moose, along with black and grey. After much deliberation and several trials we selected moss green and peachy beige colors as background. We were looking for fresh and festive colors and also they should look good when they are placed together!!
Scarf Designs for Where Does It Come From? Christmas 2014
Scarf design (on model) Christmas 2014
Jo also wanted some stoles with the WDICF logo. We got a block made.
Suitable fabrics were selected and they went for dying first. After that edges were done and then they were block printed in different designs!
Shailini and Sanjay of Moral Fibre
Sanjay says, “I really enjoyed working on this project. In spite of us spending time in planning and designing on paper, we had to make some changes to the design on block printing table to give full justice to the special technique! It was new learning and fun!”
Scarves hanging up
Two of the scarf designs
STORY K- Hand Block Printed By KRIUTI
Neelam is a print designer trained at a prestigious National Institute of Design. She runs a small Hand Block Printing Studio. She is committed to use non-toxic colors.
Neelam says, “Hand block printing has a certain irregularities and ‘flaws’ when it is printed but that is precisely its charm!! Also it is much slower than other types of printing.”
Neelam is very particular about the quality of blocks. She has an amazing collection of thousands blocks. She works with a small team of – now printers- to whom she has trained herself. She introduces them as, “This is my work family!”
Block Printing by hand
W- Where Does It Come From? – Bringing it all to you!
Hi I’m Jo, the founder of Where Does It Come From? – the clothing business that brings you ethical and traceable clothes. Currently based in Ipswich, Suffolk (UK) we work closely with our partners in India to create and develop the designs to ensure that the wonderful fabrics are made into garments that will work for you and your children. We hope that finding out about how your clothes were made and the people who made them will make you love them just a little bit more…..
From idea to business launch took two years, with launch happening in June 2014. You can read more in our Blog section, including newspaper and radio coverage. It’s been wonderful to be acknowledged for our work – 2015 brought us 3rd place in the ‘Greenest Product’ category at the Suffolk Green Awards as well as being selected as a Green 100 business – the top 100 ethical businesses in East Anglia.
Thank you so much for buying from us – the more we sell the more difference we can make. We have lots of plans for new designs, new partners and new projects so stick with us and together we can change the world!