I have always been fascinated by the beauty of India.
More than that, I have been fascinated as how something you grow up with,alters the definition of beauty.
My mother is from the western part of India, being the “secret Artist”, We grew up with home decor which I would call crafty, with saturated dyes with strong hues.
Anyhow I moved countries(Oz, followed by UK), and the further I am getting the more I miss those colours.
Lucky that I found this Aussie Duo, who have brought a bit of those rave colours down under.( A bit of me is still in Sydney, but I am in London right now..so technically they “took” the colours, down under :))
Walter G is founded by childhood friends Lauren Bennett and Genevieve Fennel, who were inspired by the Traditional Indian hand block printing and dyes, and fused it with their relaxed Aussie aesthetics to produce a fabulous range of Furnishing and Home Textiles.
Working very closely with Artisans and Craftsmen, (who are usually born into a family of generations of dyers/printers..yes it is a part of Inheritance in India :), the 2 girls were based in a small town outside of Jaipur, Rajasthan.
I got in touch with them and decided to spread the joy and the rave! (Please see the video at the end, and YES we actually work like that there!)
1. When was the first idea behind Walter G,conceived?
From an early age we had both had a love (or obsession one could say) for all things textile. Every year we would work three of more jobs to save our pennies for a yearly trip to somewhere steeped with culture, tradition and of course home to beautiful crafts. First was Vietnam followed by South America, China and then India. After all these wonderful adventures and rooms that were bursting at the hinges, we thought it was a little greedy not to share these special treasures with the rest of the world. And so was born Walter G.
2. Why India?
Apart from the love for the Lahariya Rave! I (Lauren) did a design degree at COFA (College of Fine Arts) and as a part of my final year I was to do an internship. Struck by the lack of design companies that I could see myself wanting to work with combined with my yearly travel itch I chose India as my internship destination. It was something that had never been done at COFA and actually ended up all happening very organically. It was meant to be I like to think! Whilst in India I worked in block printing and weaving, though I got to see and learn about an even wider range of crafts. Genevieve was living in Hong Kong whilst I was in India, and green with envy on all the action she was missing out on she jumped on a plane (twice) to come visit me and the families I had been working with. She was reeled in hook line and sinker! India is home to some of the most beautifully diverse range of crafts in the world. Around every corner is a continual source of inspiration from the food to the people, culture, tradition, crafts, colours to the landscape. It has it all!
3. I see that you are assisted by the “Australia Council of Arts”. How is that as an experience?
The Australia Council have been a God sent gift! We applied for the Art Start grant in early 2011. Twice yearly the Australia Council open grant applications for emerging artists/designers, awarding up to $10,000. We wouldn’t have been able to get Walter G on the dusty Indian textile road without them.
4. I love how you have documented your experience in India, Is Walter G going to India?
Of course! Walter G will be jumping on a big jet plane in late November where we plan on sampling up a storm, flicking through endless Aladdin’s caves, carting around hundreds of meters of vintage turbans, oh and of course sipping on some seriously sweet chai teas and dining on some scrumptious curries. We like to record our wild stories as every day never ceases to amaze us over there. Stay tuned for some more tales of textiles!
5. Apart from your website, Where else can we buy your products?
This week we will be hosting our first pop up shop – a one week shop to let all our fans come shake hands with our Walter Goodies. Other than this we have viewings every Friday at our studio in Ultimo, Sydney. We also stock to a range of shops throughout Australia and hopefully in the not too distant future some of our goods will set sail to some far away and exotic lands.
6. So whats next for Walter G?
A very busy year ahead! After our pop up shop we will be exhibiting at our second trade show (Decoration and Design) in Melbourne mid July. In August we will be apart of a group exhibition in Sydney with a range of designers working in India. Another wonderful boutique market called Artisan’s in the Gardens, which is a yearly event in Sydney’s beautiful botanical gardens where a percentage of the profits go towards the gardens. Then Artisan’s of Fashion another boutique style event in Sydney’s strand arcade. Oh and then of course off to India to wow you all with some new Walter Goodies!
Till then enjoy the Indian Lahariya Rave!, Love, Di xx
All images: Walter G