My name is Beverley Bloxham. I am an artist, a collector and community organiser living on unceded Dja Dja Wurrung land in Central Victoria, Australia.
Kasu (a Sanskrit word meaning light or lustre) is a one woman micro-business, and the name I’ve been using for the past decade for my practice of investigating, sharing and exhibiting traditional textile crafts of India through my tours, collection, and shop.
I first visited India in 2008 as a tourist and fell head over heels in love with the country. I also fell in love with the textiles and other crafts, with so much variation between regions, villages and families.
My curiosity for the beautiful products has taken me back to India many times and to many parts of the country - to the Himalayas in the north, to the south of India, to the east for tribal treasures, and to the west for glowing embroideries from the wonderful village women of Gujarat. In most cases, I buy my stock directly from the makers or from the fair trade organisations that represent them.
In 2012 - 13, I spent six months living in Varanasi helping to set up a not-for-profit organic farming organisation and teaching English in a village school. During this time, I was also able to travel more widely in search of fair trade products. And adventures.
Each project and visit teaches me more about the cultures of India - so varied across the country.
I learn about different types of weaving, printing, embroidery and the regional variations and customs, specific to cultural groups. I learn from the makers, from the remarkable network of fair traders and co-ops, and from fellow researchers I’ve met along the way.
This gathering of knowledge is an integral part of what Kasu is about: each object embodies the stories and memories of the people who made them and the places they were found.
It also means that I can pass on the stories to the end users, so that the objects are respected and treasured and hopefully kept for a very long time and maybe passed on to another generation as a family heirloom.
Over the years and many visits to India, I have developed close relationships with my suppliers and through my purchases, have assisted in the growth of many businesses and contributed to the well-being of many families.
Before becoming besotted with India and creating Kasu, I have had a varied career in the arts: an illustrator, a ceramicist, a public artist and project manager, an arts educator, a community artist and exhibiting artist.
I still make art and get involved with local community projects.