“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi
On 1 February of this year Stefan Schwarzkopf, Design Director at Inscape Publico, and I boarded Etihad flight 6408 bound for Abu Dhabi. From Abu Dhabi we flew east to Delhi where we met up with Eric Gronning, an Inscape Publico board member. The three of us then traveled together for the final leg of the journey that would land us in Varanasi on the Ganges River.
We arrived in Varanasi to begin work on the Varanasi Silk Facility. Collaborating with Nest, a nonprofit committed to the social and economic advancement of global artisans and homeworkers through supply chain transparency, sustainable business development, and widespread industry advocacy, the silk weaving facility will help numerous Varanasi artisans to reclaim their livelihoods through their own means by providing them the fair market access they need to compete with increasing cheap labor and automated silk production. The art of hand-loom weaving is one that is passed on through generations and must be learned from the age of childhood. Bringing the weavers together physically will create a heightened sense of community and environment of solidarity. Allowing for instant communication, the facility will foster greater cooperation amongst the weavers to solve problems and share experiences. Our goal is to offer a beautiful, welcoming, and inspiring work environment where the weavers will not only feel pride in themselves and their work, but also feel proud to pass their amazing skills on to their children.
Inscape Publico will be hosting an event to share our work on the Varanasi Silk Weaving Facility and raise money to support our efforts. Spartan Surfaces will be our host for the evening and Maven Women, a DC base fashion line that creates sustainable styles for women and educates and advocates to move the needle in the global fashion industry, will be our partner organization for this campaign. We have also joined forces with The Georgetown Professional Society for this event and look forward to forging a long term relationship with their members.
Gregory A. Kearley, AIA, LEED AP