School Talk - Unconventional Career?

I was invited to speak to a London secondary + upper school's 'Unconventional Careers Society' about coraux mei and its journey. The Society was created by two very bright girls who focus on unconventional career paths.

How intrigued they all were, with such great and endless questions!

Thank you :)

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Popping Up at West Elm Store - Kingston

coraux mei was very nicely invited by West Elm - Kingston Upon Thames - Surrey (an old haunt!) to join them for a Pop Up shop for 3 Days in May (11th-13th) to celebrate London Craft Week.

It was a great three days to be surrounded by lush furniture, lovely staff, great locals and also the really talented Miesje Chafer Textile Designer who also had a pop-up.

Thank you, West Elm!

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Nepal

Namaste!

I'm currently in chilled Nepal having come from an intense and very populated India.

Days in India were hurried, colourful, dusty, polluted, puzzling, comedic, holistic and spiritual. Overall, a little challenging at times. A new and different vibe to what I'd felt seven years back but that may be because new regions were touched on this time, Durga puja holiday, CHANGE etc... I will write more and share experiences about those later.

So, Nepal! I am extremely grateful to be in such a place and country. It's been on the top of the list for some time and I thank everything/one that has led me to this place and to have the chance ultimately travel. Sometimes (a lot of the time), I feel spoilt as a westerner who chooses to pursue travel. Totally grateful on the finance side, but on the other side..we build our own paths and I surely lack things that others are abundant in and vice versa. Ultimately it comes down to the balance and our choices - what one views as important. So thank you for all this opportunity and Amen.

 

Roof of the World 

A country that the Himalayas mostly belong to. I've always felt connected to high peaks and mountains in some way. It's the height, peace, history and nature of them that gets me. The beauty and science. And the life and wisdom that inhabits around them. Mountains. Lovely. But moreso I've always felt strongly connected to  the the Himalaya mountain range. Home to the tallest peaks - Everest being number one..they really do live by the name of being Roof of the World..

 

On a visit to Lumbini - the first entry into Nepal, which is where Gotama Buddha was born, I met a talkative and inquisitive Vietnamese monk travelling with his temple clan from San Francisco. He asks why I'm in Nepal, I tell him about this connection and he suggests that it may be that my past life was Nepalese...? Perhaps, perhaps...

If not past life, I say ancestral. Having spent less than a week so far, I've been told on a few occasions that I look Nepali...feeling thankful for that, but heyyy, Nepalese have so many varying looks due to the sheer number of ethnic groups. More specifically, it seems they pinpoint the Newari group... Mum, Dad.. Please tell me more about our history!?

 

 

I entered Nepal with a handful number of other foreigners at the Saunali border coming from Varanasi, India. Upon arrival, the instant fresh air and chilled attitude was strongly welcomed and noticed. Perhaps,it was psychological... But gone were the touts with agendas and truthful prices were given.

 

As for the aims of being in Nepal. I shall hope to go on a long trek and explore those mountains and the life that resides in and around them. Another wish is to explore to ethnic groups of Nepal and gain an insight into the textiles of these groups. A main one is to see what can be done in terms of rebuilding Nepal after the devastating earthquake last April. 

 

Fez

MOROCCO! 

Ten Days. Explorative mode.

The trip started in Fes; Morocco's ex-capital (as from 1925) and second largest city.

A majority of the short time was spent in the confusing, maze-like, puzzle Fes el Bali. This being Fes' largest medina quarter which is apparently the oldest walled part of the city and also houses the oldest university in the world! The University of al-Qarawiyyin. 

 

Absolutely huge.

Meandering in the souks, studying the Moorish patterns and reducing eye contact whether possible....Getting lost in Fes el Bali was the aim of the game, finding the way out was just a distant thought. Signs small and hidden....and asking for directions meant opening a new conversation for being sold...a carpet!


CHOURA TANNERY

The largest and most ancient Leather Tannery in the world...

Standing from the terraces, the smell isn't as poignant as most would describe it. Maybe due to the chilliness and the rennovations?!

Therefore the mint leaves were slightly unnecessary! 

 

The leather tanning PROCESS:

- Cow and goat skins are delivered to the tannery.

- They are soaked in Limestone and Salt to make the skins hairless.

- They are then soaked in pigeon poop! The poop is acidic which makes the skin softer. It also causes the poignant smell of leather.

- The skin is then washed in Cedarwood to reduce the odour. This is done three times at five hours a time.

- The skin is then dried for three days.

- And then it's ready to be naturally coloured...! Colours are extracted from various forms of nature....

Yellow - Saffron / Green - Mint / Orange - Henna / Black - Coal / Red - Poppy / Blue - Indigo


TEXTILES: Wandering through the souks... Beautiful textiles spotted against white-washed walls