Kasuri Re-Produced
Developing a new small scale craft industry. 

The rug Kasuri is the result of our work developing textile products with unique design, made from excess and waste from the textile industry. 
We wanted to create a new platform for craftsmen-women to work from home in a production that does not demand costly or energy consuming equipment.
Braiding of rags into rugs is a well known technique. When we started our experimental project Re Rag Rug the braided technique was one of the first we wanted to use in our search for new expressions for the rag rug. We discovered that the braids create new patterns when placed next to each other. Different patterns appear depending on in which order the colors are braided, how many rags each braid consists of and finally how the braids are combined and stitched together. This opened a whole new world of patterns to us, an infinity of design variations. 
Our very first braided Kasuri rug was made out of old t-shirts, that had been donated to us by the Salvation Army’s thrift stores, in a composition of several patterns. We named it Kasuri because the expression reminds us of the Japanese ikat-technique whre threads are space dyed to create patterns in a weave.
In 2012 we travelled to India for the first time, to explore the possibilities to re-produce the rug Kasuri. There were two major factors making it possible for us to realise the pilot project: The waste material was available and we knew some people that were interested in trying the craft.
The rugs ’Kasuri’ and now also ’Spice’ are produced in the South of India, in a town where the t-shirt industry is largest and so also the suppply of excess and waste materials. Since 2012 we have travelled there to work with Muthu and the sisters Jothi and Chitra. Like many other Indian women they stopped working when they married, moved into a new family and had children. The desire and the need to contribute to the household economy exists but the opportunities to work part-time are almost non excistent.
Jothi and Chitra work from home with braiding and they have developed a great skill in this, to the industry, unique craft production. The idea is that they in their turn can engage more women earning an income by producing our rugs. 
This work is done alongside the textile industry refining the waste and excess in the town where they live.  
Producing with excess and waste

Our original Kasuri rug is part of the travelling exhibtion Re Rag Rug.Since the start of our 12 month experimental project we wanted to find ways of using our designs and experiences, developing products with materials considered worthless. Ourselves or in collaboration with the industry.
We wanted to see if it would be possible to achieve a continuos production of rugs using waste and recycled materials. What would the challenges be when working with materials that are always changing?
We wanted to find out which differences in design we would have to accept and if there were advantages in compromising when re-produced a unique piece.
With the first sample we got, it was clear that the new version had to be simplyfied. The selection of color is extremy important to the design just because the original has so many shades of blue and we wanted to keep the vivid surface where colours mix and blend into each other in what seems to be in a random way. We had to select a range of blues from colours available on the excess market but still try to make it as true to the original Kasuri as possible.
The idea was that this new prototype should be able the master sample that the artisans could work from when sourcing colours at the market in the future.
Three years down the road and some samples later we are happy with the quality and the way the project has developed. We have added two colours ways in KAsuri and created a new design called ’Spice’. Sourcing material in the right colours have proven to take some time, but we have worked around this by creating colour ways that are our most used t-shirt colours. This allows us to stay close to the originals, with some variation which only adds uniquness to each rug. 
The rug Kasuri is an example of how design is a way to work with sustainability, and shows that a seemingly worthless material can be given added value. It is made with a craft technique that does not require large spaces or machines, and they could therefore be manufactured in cottage industry settings in textile-producing countries. Such a production method, using waste, will not only be ecologically sustainable but also socially sustainable — as it becomes a platform for developing crafts and creating jobs.
The makers
The rugs Kasuri and Spice are now produced in South India together with Jothi, Chitra and Muthu. We have developed a unique production of hand braided quality rugs in the T-shirt town where they live and where the waste is generated. 
Jothi and Chitra are sisters, both married and have small children. Both women have studied up to 12th standard with mathematics and science as mayor subjects. After their studies and before marrying they have attended computer classes and worked a few years, with administration and teaching.
As many other Indian women they stopped working when they married in order to manage all their household duties: caring for the children as well as making sure the inlaws are content. The desire and need to contribute to the household economy exists but the opportunities to work part-time are almost non-excistent.
Working from home would is a way of contributing to the household economy and also gain independence. 
So why would they like to work with crafts when they could find work in telephone sales, something which is increasing in India and something that could also be done from home. 
The answer is so pleasing to us. They think handicraft is interesting. They can knit and embroider a little and would like to learn more. 
Apart from it being fun, Chitra says that she thinks it is 'mind relaxation'. In a stressful life handicrafts has the power to bring peace to your mind. You are able to take step away and while the hands do the work (and you are in fact productive)it allows thoughts time to wander and it clears the mind. We know this from our own experience.