ONLY a close-up examination of Maggie Baxter’s shirt reveals the fabric’s intricacy.
Every thread and pattern is unique—unlike those of run-of-the-mill, mass-produced clothing. The East Fremantle woman says her shirt—designed by New Delhi-based Aneeth Arora—was handmade and woven using a technique called ikat.
“In a highly complex and mathematical way, they work out where the tie-dye bundles of thread go to make this pattern,” Baxter says. “It’s then weaved using a handloom.”
Baxter is curating a Fremantle Arts Centre exhibition this month featuring eclectic saris, uncut cloth, street wear and dupattas (scarves) made by various Indian designers.
Having travelled to India several times over the past 25 years, Baxter has noticed that easier travel and globalisation have helped blur the lines between high fashion and villagers’ clothing.
“In India, people have the time and are willing to sit and make something by hand,” she says. “Foreign professional designers can pick up old techniques still in used in villages. Design travels.”
She says Indian designers, through access to the internet, have also been inspired by anything from Austrian paintings to 1930s art deco structures.
The exhibition runs Saturday, August 1 to September 19, and coincides with a WA launch of Baxter’s book, Unfolding: Contemporary Indian Textiles. If you have your Herald early, opening night is 6.30pm Friday, July 31, and includes a feast and live music. There’ll also be a mehndi (henna) artist decorating hands for free.
by EMMIE DOWLING