Saturday, 15 June 2013

Indian Textiles and a Fascinating Parcel

Today I received two parcels from Ebay, both Indian textiles for our new house. The first was a set of organza panels with gold and shi-sha embroidery to create new drapes for our bed, and the second was a toran (decorative embellishment for a doorway) to go over the doorway from my office to my new ARTHaven.

The panels came in the most unusual parcel I’ve ever received. Unlike our parcels in the west, this one wasn’t wrapped in paper, but in fabric!

01 Fabric Parcel

The customs label is stitched onto the parcel!

02 Stitched On Label

The name and address are handwritten with permanent marker onto the fabric of the parcel, and in such beautiful script too.

03 Handwritten Address Detail

These are the labels on the back of the parcel.

04 Indian Labels on Reverse

Finally, when did you last receive a parcel with sealing wax? Three great blobs of ochre-coloured sealing wax had been added to the sewn closure of the parcel. The whole parcel took a lot longer to open than the average western one, but it was so enjoyable doing it!

05 Closure Stitched and Sealed with Wax

This is what was inside. I have 3 panels like this, but have not unfolded the other two. They are absolutely gorgeous… The gold braid is much more gold in real life.

01 Gold-Embroidered Organza

Detail of the gold braid.

02 Gold Braid

Detail of the gold embroidery. In the centre of each motif is a shi-sha mirror. Shi-sha embroidery is one of my favourites – the little mirrors flash in the light and add so much richness! It’s maybe not the easiest technique, but once mastered, is such fun to do. I have done a great deal of it over the years, including on my wedding dress.

03 Gold Shi-sha Embroidery Detail

The other parcel was much more conventionally wrapped, in the usual grey polybag that you get stuff from Ebay sent in. However, what was inside certainly wasn’t conventional! This is a pink and faded pale red toran for my ARTHaven doorway. I just love the subtle colours.

01 Indian Toran

Here’s a detail of one of the fringe pieces, and you can see that this piece is also embellished with shi-sha.

02 Indian Toran Fringe Detail

This is a detail of the top border, which you can see is embellished with numerous shi-sha mirrors.

03 Indian Toran Top Detail

Finally, a detail of the little embroidered elephant.

04 Indian Toran Elephant Detail

I photographed all this on our elephants duvet cover. We bought this bedding when we first came to our present house and it’s getting a bit faded now, particularly on this side as it gets the sun, but I love it so much, and will be heartbroken when it’s worn out!

When I get my ARTHaven sorted, I’ll attach the toran over the doorway from the office into the ARTHaven proper:

04 Doorway into ARTHaven

More photos will follow, I promise! Lots to do, but we’ll get there in the end.


  1. What fantastic textiles! so rich and a depth of colour. they will certainly make your house unique!

  2. Crikey you must have been over the moon to get such a fascinating package

  3. So cool - curious to see your upcoming pictures!

  4. What an amazing parcel. I'd love to order from that company just to get such an fantastic parcel delivered. The fabric is beautiful, look forward to seeing what you do with it.


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