[A Kitty Rae quilt photographed by Krystyna Hellstrom for Jaipur Quilts. Niyogi Books, 2012.]
[Textile pioneer Kitty Rae photographed by Krystyna Hellstrom, again seen in this open copy of Jaipur Quilts.]
Last week I finally picked up Krystyna Hellstrom's Jaipur Quilts. For the book, textile designer Brigitte Singh agreed to be interviewed and allowed Hellstrom to photograph her workshops (in fact, a Singh quilt made the book's cover). So that was the initial draw.
[At left, a Soma quilt; at right, Kitty Rae's Kin Fabrics quilt. Photo by Hellstrom.]
[Another Kitty Rae quilt from the book.]
According to Hellstrom, Rae began the commercial production of quilts after Independence, in midcentury India, 1963. So this year marks her business Kin Fabric's 50th anniversary. Because she began on a small scale, printing out of her home and reviving a traditional Indian craft, it seems to me Kitty Rae's enterprise was in line with Gandhi's vision for the country. Cobalt-blues with green on a fresh white ground are seen throughout Hellstrom's photo album of Kin wares.
If you're planning an expedition to Jaipur, the book has a traveler's guide bent to it and shop addresses are included. Just know that while Anokhi shops and the Anokhi Museum of Handprinting are mentioned in the resource section, the author opts not to cover either in any detail. But Kadar Bux, Magic Quilts, Lashkari Textiles, Rajasthan Fabric and Arts, Rasa, Soma, and Madhurima Patni, aka Gitto, founder of Surabhi Exports, are discussed.