The series Shades of Kashmir Rose concentrates on the art of making the Kashmir shawl. The first series focuses on water as the central unifying piece of the series. Water is an important natural element present during the entire process of creating a Kashmir shawl. The process is a long series of steps to create these works of art. The collection of cashmere is manually done by combing the hair of the goats. Prior to spinning the yarn, the raw material is treated by stretching and cleaning to remove all dirt. Softness is achieved by soaking the fiber for a few days in a mixture of rice and water. As a part of the preparation for weaving the yarn is washed with water and soap then dried in the sun light. Once the weaving is complete the shawl goes through another wash with special powder and water. Only then is the shawl prepared for embroidery. Water is key element present in each phase of the shawl making process.
Mara Szabová is the Photographic Artist behind the Shades of Kashmir Rose series. Mara was born and raised in Slovakia. She graduated from the Paneuropean University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Media Communication and a Master’s Degree at Tomas Bata University in the Czech Republic. Mara joined the Kashmir Rose Team in January 2015.
Mara’s inspiration for the Shades of Kashmir Rose evolved from her learning about the beauty of Kashmir and importance that water plays in the completion of a Kashmir Shawl. Water is a dominant element throughout the series of her pictures not only to highlight shawl making process but also to emphasize the significance of Dal Lake and mission behind Kashmir Rose.
Srinagar is the capital of Kashmir. Dal Lake is Srinagar's crown jewel, a vast, mirror-flat sheet of water reflecting the carved wooden balconies of the houseboats and the misty peaks of the Pir Panjal mountains. Gondola-like taxi boats skiff around the lake, transporting goods to market, children to school and travellers from houseboat to shore.
Kashmir Rose’s non-profit organizational structure represents more than just a fashion statement. The shawls of the series and all other Kashmir Rose products embrace the entirety of the life and story of artisans who are working on them in Kashmir. Like the water that is a part of every facet of making a shawl, Kashmir Rose is dedicated to not only preserving the arts of hand manufacturing, but also to help support educational programs for youth, vocational training centers and employment for artisans with a mission to preserve the art history of traditional Kashmir Shawls.
During the Foxcroft's Wintermission webinar, Mara introduced the Shades of Kashmir Rose series to the students and shared her inspiration behind the theme and how she achieved creating artistic and meaningful photographs. Mara also discussed the basics of portrait photography and the role of post production.
The students were really inspired by her work and look forward to sharing their photos during their Final Presentation on Friday.