Earlier this year, we spent two weeks in India visiting our artisan partners and documenting the process of their craft. Our first stop was in Hyderabad, a city of pearls known for their biryani and keema samosa; and just an hour drive away was Pochampally – a small town celebrated for its ikat craft.
Pochampally is home to our ikat artisan partners. The village there runs as one united business, made up of a community of households, whereby every household takes ownership of a different motif, and is part and parcel of a wider cultural and economic ecosystem.
As we spent our days in Pochampally, we noticed that at the entrance of every home, at the foot of every door, before the rise of every living space, was an elaborate decoration drawn with rice flour. We later learned that this pattern was referred to as Rangoli – a term that holds its roots from the Sanskrit word “rangavalli”, meaning colour.
Rangoli is an art form widely practiced by female Hindu family members, a decoration drawn using rice flour as a blessing of good luck and prosperity upon their homes. Rangoli is drawn in the morning before the sun rises, typically in the form of patterns ranging from geometric line drawings around a matrix of dots to freeform lines around closed shapes. But its appearance is not its main purpose; there is no rhyme or reason to the ways the Rangoli blooms because the focus instead is on the meaning and the carrying of blessings.
Drawing Rangoli with rice flour was a tradition that dates back to the generations before, a daily tribute to harmonious coexistence: so that ants would not have to walk too far for a meal, and birds and other small creatures were welcomed to come and eat it.
It is a sign of invitation. As if to say, take off your shoes, come inside — you are welcomed here.
Inspired by the Rangoli, we created the Marga motif exclusively for our collaboration with Mohinders. Read more about our collaboration here.