Desert Traditions
…where new journeys into life, tradition & culture begin

Lock, Stock and Barrel

I could of course be referring to the ‘wild west’ component of the Beyond Santa Fe Tour this July. I am not. Instead I am drawing your attention to my forthcoming sale and to take you all one step closer to our long promised online shop.The launch inches slowly closer, however we do work full time and we all know how just how elusive time is these days!

So why the title? I am always interested in the origins of sayings and when ‘lock stock and barrel’ popped into mind today it was not meant to be politically incorrect. I am simply referring to today’s general usage that means ‘all, total, everything’ – the intention of next week’s event.

SN Fran models blue and black

Natural indigo and natural black on hand woven cotton. Hand printed printed by Sufiyan Khatri. Model Francine Courteille. Images © Carole Douglas 07/08/2016.

Research tells me that this term was first recorded in the letters of Sir Walter Scott almost 200 years ago (1817) when he wrote the line ‘Like the High-landman’s gun, she wants stock, lock, and barrel, to put her into repair.’ (Why she I might ask?)  In the early days of firearms manufacturing, individual craftsman made individual components one at a time. One craftsman made the ‘lock’ which would have been a ‘match lock’, ‘wheel lock’, ‘flint lock’ etc. The next craftsman made the barrel, and the last craftsman, who was a woodworker, made the stock. At some point an early entrepreneur –  a craftsman or a merchant – started advertising ‘Lock Stock and Barrel’ meaning that you could get your entire gun at one location and did not have to go from craftsman to craftsman in order to get it finished.

In this context my use of the term is appropriate for, like those early entrepreneurs, I too go from artisan to artisan to artisan (craftsman/woman) until I have the finished article to offer my customers. Like those early entrepreneurs I also know every person in the production chain and am able to manage and take responsibility for the final quality while having great adventures along the way.

Take for instance the tops shown above; I designed the style, chose the hand woven fabric from a weaver in West Bengal, worked closely with master block printer (Ajrakh) Sufiyan Khatri, chose blocks from his existing stock and he produced the yardage. In this case it was a few hundred metres. For the sake of human and environmental health (yours included) I chose natural colours, indigo and iron black. When fermented naturally these two colours are relatively benign. The fabric then went to Mumbai and into the hands of one of my two tailoring units, both of which are woman-owned and operated. After ten years we have reached the right balance of quality, cost and delivery on time – it is not always easy working from a distance and especially in India where time has a different meaning. After 20 years I am somewhat closer to understanding the constraints and they are somewhat closer to understanding my market needs.

SN Ajarakh

Image: (left) Sufiyan activates natural indigo vat (above right) boxed blocks from which to choose (below right) Sufiyan carries on a centuries old family tradition. Images © Carole Douglas.

I work directly with my producers, resulting in finished products that meet my company’s quadruple bottom line;

• ecologically sound – in other words good for people and the planet
• economically viable – Desert Traditions pays directly to each source and everyone wins
• socially responsible – all players are treated fairly and communities prosper
• culturally appropriate – artisans are not required to work beyond the bounds of tradition

SN Fran lo res BohoIMG_1594

Boho range. Designed by Carole; mother of pearl button ropes hand crocheted by Neelam. Clutch bag hand embroidered by traditional women artisans. Image © Carole Douglas.

All pertinent information is on the labels – you can’t miss the swing tag!

Information leads to understanding
Understanding leads to awareness
Awareness leads to consumer wisdom
Wisdom makes a better world

Come and see for yourself …

Summer sale invite