Hand Made (exhibition)


Bunka Gakuen University, Tokyo

17 – 26 November, 2014

Supported by The British Council

This extensive exhibition extended Welsh’s Field to Fashion research, to investigate the wearability issues and the practical limitations of Kala Cotton garments. A collection of thirty-eight handmade garments, developed in conjunction with Indian hand-loom weavers, explored the inherent properties of Kala Cotton for womens garments. Collaborators: Barney Hare- Duke and Vankar Shamji Vishram


The exhibition showcased a series of unique, handmade womenswear garments that were developed in conjunction with rural artisans in the Indian state of Gujarat, and the technical team of the Department of Apparel at Manchester Metropolitan University.


The collection highlighted the previously overlooked design potential of Kala Cotton, an organic and indigenous species grown in Kachchh, in northern India. Unlike most Indian cottons grown today, which are genetically modified and often hybridized, Kala Cotton is genetically pure and extremely resilient.

Welsh’s garments celebrated the virtues and natural softness of the material, fusing British and Indian heritage cutting techniques with a more minimal western fashion fit and sensibility. Her silhouettes are loose and flattering, making the most of the distinctive patterning of the woven cotton.


The innovative designs were inspired by traditional Indian detailing and pattern cutting methods, which Welsh has skillfully translated into contemporary womenswear. Welsh worked closely with Bhujodi master weaver Shamji Vishram Vankar, to develop a range of organically dyed fabric designs exclusively for the project. The garments exhibited traditional hand embroidery and embellishment, carried out by the women of the Rabari community in Bhujodi.


Hand Made was realised in conjunction with Indian crafts support agency Khamir. Working with the organisation and local growers, weavers, tailors and embroiderers, Welsh has created beautiful garments from fabrics made of this exceptional variety of cotton. This ongoing project aims to deliver positive social and economic impact to the rural artisans of Kachcch, through the creation of new and sustainable products, and the promotion of Kala Cotton to the international design community.


Images by Paul Jones.

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