On my first day as an intern at MarketPlace in Mumbai, I was introduced to the chindis, which are fabric scraps leftover from production. I poured through bags of printed fabrics – beautiful block prints in lovely colors. My background is in sustainable design and using the scraps to make new products was a fun challenge. MarketPlace already had a range of products made from chindis but my project was to expand upon them and I started with jewelry.
The chindis come in all different shapes and sizes and can be crafted into many products, including bracelets and necklaces.
The long chindi pieces which come from the selvage (the unusable edges of the fabric) are perfect for a range of hand-worked techniques like crocheting, plaiting, and braiding.
Using some wooden beads leftover from production, I used macramé techniques to make necklaces with one or two fabrics, often mixing and matching the vibrant prints. The artisans were very interested in the jewelry I was making with the chindis and some of them wanted me to teach them how to do macramé. I showed them how I knotted the fabric and hemp chord and they tried it out themselves.
MarketPlace is a unique organization because not only does it see the hidden potential in reusing “waste” but it also understands the importance of conserving environmental resources and shares those ideals with its artisans. My design philosophy is to make clothing and accessories with minimal environmental impact and maximum social impact so I am endlessly grateful for my experiences working on the chindi project with the MarketPlace staff and artisans.