Kabul day 5: Re-co-design
Today we slowly wake up and remain still for a while… How do we feel today? Phew… a lot better. However, we decide to skip breakfast one more time. Still trembling a bit we go to the factory.
The drive to the factory takes a bit longer than usual. And once again there is so much to see outside. We have already noticed earlier that there are a lot of beautifully decorated cars parked in a certain place we pass. We wonder how many people can marry on one day? Upon enquiry the taxi driver tells us that the cars are not decorated because of weddings, but that they are of families who welcome back their relatives who return from the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
Upon arrival at the factory, we immediately have to start with work to keep up with the speed of the machine embroiderers. Apparently they found their niche and the result is absolutely great! This is crafting in the purest form of the word, painting with needle and thread. By their own free expression and in consultation with us, the designs are filled in. We can only look on breathlessly.
The embroidery machines are motor driven but the stitches are determined entirely manually. By subtle hand movements and foot control through a pedal, the most beautiful patterns are created. Of course, 100% hand embroidery would be the ultimate goal, but price technically and commercially not feasible at this moment. This method wouldn’t work for Crafting Peace as we aim to sell as much as possible to actually improve the economic situation.
The overall picture of the collection begins to change rapidly from our original plan. It always happens that you have to make concessions, but this takes quite a lot from our creative mind: different fabrics, yarns that suddenly run out and also the fact that we have to shift almost everything to machine embroidery instead of hand embroidered. Because we leave next Tuesday evening the pressure is high, but we find ourselves in a good flow. We are sure that every next bird will be even better.
In the meanwhile there is much discussion back and forth, talking and laughing at each other. Safi (head embroiderer) is having a good time. We are delighted that he shows it to us.
There is also quite a lot of discussion about the price calculations. The implications of the cost of implementing new designs and the hours that it would take is unclear. Every day we try to clarify more. However promising the collection gets, we should really be able to achieve a somewhat competitive price (plus a ‘premium’ because it comes from a fragile country).
On the way to the hotel we get off at Finest, a grocery shop. Our first trip outdoors without a ‘babysitter’. We have never inspected products with such an interest. We also enjoy it a lot to be in a different environment. The way from the grocery shop to the hotel (50 meters) without a steel armour feels a bit uncomfortable. We almost feel naked. However, we reach the hotel safely.
Back in the hotel we admire the purchases and take pictures of it. We are having fun… even though we can hardly leave our room. The night is much more restless. All impressions of the day like burqas and children’s hands continue to haunt us.