Monday, April 18, 2011

Banaras Beads.

Day 3.

Well, we have a bit of catching up to do. Lexi and I updated with photographs to give an idea of what we've been seeing. The images show bits of Old Delhi: the spice market and the Red Fort, and then leave you to wander the many rooms, and feel the pulse of the Bead Factory in Benaras. Well, let's take it from there...

Benaras Bead Factory (as noted in our silly Fun Facts) produces a majority (80%!) of all the glass beads worldwide! Lori and Todd visited a good number of years ago, and like I was, had been awed by the sheer quantity of beads they found there, not to mention the variety of shape and wide range of color! To the untrained eye (or unprepared buyer) the buckets of beads would have been completely overwhelming to sift through. Even with Lexi's experience working in Bead Stores in the Bay area, she was pretty taken by the whole thing.

We left Delhi Thursday morning by plane and landed in Varanasi by the early afternoon. The flight was quick and uneventful, smooth and steady to say the least. Lori lead us to the prepaid taxi booth outside of the airport, which gives a receipt for your travel insuring that if anything should go wrong there is a paper trail to document where a person was last seen. Always go to the prepaid taxi booth. Once on the road again, it became instantly clear that our trip into the city would be far from smooth or steady. Lori told us the right-of-way on these roads goes to the driver of biggest vehicle! There's a good sales pitch for the Hummer. Lexi and I took refuge in the back seat without even realizing we were doing anything but offering to Lori. Hardly. Poor Lori braved the twists and turns of roadway craziness that made Delhi traffic seem organized! And for almost an hour!! By the time we arrived at a warehouse gate we were grateful to have reason for escaping the car, even if we weren't at the right place, which was a good possibly.

Once it was clear we had made it, and this warehouse was in fact the Bead Factory we relaxed. We were lead to a waiting room to sit, and after a short stint we were toured through the insides of the Factory.

We left the Factory full of color, after hours of decision making, having been successful in finding most any color you could imagine (except for a shiny red, which they were out of... and now I know why-- a good Red can make all the difference).  Taking beads off the shelves for Lexi to see was like introducing swatches of fabric to a clothing designer. We even pulled a few colors that Lexi liked ...  and They will be featured in her next line.

And, how about those glass blowers! I couldn't believe it, seeing those beads made one by one really gave me an idea of the labor involved in bead production. I am gaining tremendous perspective, and changing the way I appreciate beaded jewelry... Naturally, being an outsider to the beading world, I have had an enormous blind spot, but my eyes are focusing in on the amount of hands involved in producing the kind of pieces that Lexi creates. And seeing her attention to detail in action, and now understanding how that affects her product has been inspiring. Now when I'm messing around with wacky colors, I joke and say it's "research" I'm doing.

and I am.


1 comment:

  1. It all sounds so amazing! I love thinking of you two in Banares, it is one of my alltime favorite places on earth. Love the photos and imagining all the shiny colors. Love you both!!