Category Archives: diary

The heart and soul of tamielle

The heart and soul of tamielle are the lovely and wonderful Bulgarian ladies who are making all our handkerchiefs and Lavender cushions with their own hands and from their own homes.

Everything is made in ‘Cottage Industry’.

The beautiful hankies that tamielle ladies are creating are sold in the most prestigious boutiques all over the world. They reach so many countries, but each and every handkerchief begins  life in the homes, gardens and hands of our lovely ladies.

Ivanka tamielle seamstress (1) Ivanka tamielle seamstress (2) Ivanka tamielle seamstress (3)

This is Ivanka, one of tamielle seamstresses. She does the sewing of the men’s hankies and the Lavender sachets with an old sewing machine by her window. The ironing is done in the garden. Her garden is full of flowers and fruits she grows with her husband. I call her ‘Ivanka Ferrari’ –as she is sewing so fast!! This always makes her laugh.  I absolutely adore visiting her in her garden and feel it’s a privilege to be able to provide her with work.

The Bulgarian Workshop

tamielle’s Bulgarian workshop was founded in 2006, out of a deep belief that designers can play an important role in creating work for people in need.
The workshop is functioning in a poor area of Bulgaria, near Veliko Tarnovo. It collaborates with local charities, to support women from disadvantage backgrounds. It provides them with work opportunities, and the self esteem that comes from creating something beautiful with their own hands. Trade becomes ever more personal – as each woman is signing her name on the tag that accompanies her work.

Within one month of its existence – the workshop had provided work for 6 Embroiderers and 12 lovely women who come to pack the hankies and to fill the Lavender cushions (a very aromatic work…. Much attention and love is invested in their work. I hope you can feel the Atmosphere from the photos…

The white on white work in my collection

This is the fruit of my collaboration with Vijay, the Rani (princess) of Mahmudabad.

In 1992, Vijay established ‘Qilasaaz’, a wonderful non-profit project located in North India. Its members work together in the ancient forts of Mahmudabad and Bilehra. They preserve the same old embroidery and sewing techniques that were used in the Raja’s households for generations. This project enables its members to earn a viable monthly income and supports the education of their children.

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The Handkerchief Club

shahida_needleworkIn old times women used to get together and embroider. This was an intimate ‘Club’. A place to speak, listen, laugh and cry. This slow quality time between women has long gone, together with one of the most beautiful, romantic products ever to exist: The hand embroidered handkerchief.

The Handkerchief Club initiative wishes to revive this intimate product, while providing an ethical income for women in need.

It also wishes to bring back the personal touch that used to be a part of trade. A tiny print is made on each handkerchief. It tells you the name of the woman who embroidered it for you.

All of the embroideries are handmade in Bulgaria. I Work with each embroiderer individually, at her own home. We embroider, we talk, I taste their unique dishes, and hear their stories about their life, their culture, the homes they left behind… This is the favourite part of my work.