Monday 1 December 2014

Hemp Pendant Cords

I have always made cords for the pendants we sell and although we sell the materials needed to produce your own cords, I feel I should have them available for those we wish to replace the cord on a cherished pendant.

The cords themselves are made from wild himalayan hemp twine that has been handspun and naturally dyed. We also have a selection of undyed cords. Using a block of beeswax to coat each thread, I hand twist each cord into a strong 6 ply. All cords have a loop and toggle closure and can be shortened to suit the length required. I hand make toggles from many types of wood, bone, antler and horn and have used mostly coconut for our first batch of cords. For lighter and smaller pendants I use a finer machine spun European undyed hemp which results in a much finer cord.

We often get asked for pendant cords so we have now made them available at our stall in Totnes market each Friday and Saturday.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

New Pendants From Neo Glass

Three new pendants from Neo Glass have been uploaded into our Tokyo Craft section. Masaya Nouga has crafted these unique pendants from borosilicate glass and each is attached to a hand twisted waxed hemp. To view these and other pendants, please follow the link below:

Monday 11 August 2014

WOMAD 2014

WOMAD festival was once again blessed with beautiful weather for this year's gathering of musical delight carefully selected from around the globe. The 24th to 27th July saw Wiltshire's Charlton Park warmed with sunlight, the only exception being a short sudden downpour that lasted less than 20 minutes.

The Abortorium is an area of the festival with an amazing selection of native and non-native trees and a great place to relax. Not only does the Abortorium offer perfect shade, it also has it's own small stage for acoustic performances.

The beautiful Kasia and Padro were back to balance your nature and maintain your well-being with Shiatsu in the relaxing shade. I believe this year was the first to have spoon carving workshops for those that feel that creative urge. Good friend Wayne Hooper will guide even the most novice adventurer through the steps of carving your own spoon from green wood.
If you'd like to see some of his wonderfully rustic spoons, follow this link:

WOMAD makes it so easy for us to discover new artists that we would otherwise never know. The Charlie Gillet Stage is just in front of us, giving us the opportunity to enjoy live world music all day and meet friends new and old who come to visit.

Chocolatier and musician Radek was on hand with his delicious handmade raw chocolate delights. If you like chocolate, you'll love these. Learn more about his chocolate from the following link:

If you have an interest in world music of many kinds, then this festival is a must. It is a very family friendly event and you'll be able to keep the kids amused with a large selection of free workshops in the Kids Area or attractions at the Steam Fair.

For any information about WOMAD festival, follow the link:

Sunday 10 August 2014

Glastonbury 2014

 Pilton Farm, Somerset was again the setting of the world's most famous music festival and we were delighted that Sorazora was back in the Greenfields. High up the hill just before the stone circle is where you'll find all the green craft activities and some of the more intimate stages.

The weather was great and the little rain that we had didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits or create any mud-baths (at least not in the Greenfields!).

Although definitely not my cup of tea, the big names in music were Metallica and Dolly Parton. I did pop along to see The Pixies as they were the first live band I ever saw back in April 1989.
With all the non-music happenings and the fact that tickets sell out before anyone knows who's playing, I think it is fair to say that Glastonbury is more about the festival than it is the music.

If you only go to one festival a year, it really should be Glastonbury if you can manage to get a ticket before they sell out. Don't forget to pack both your wellies and suncream as you never know which you'll need. Finally, if you take a tent with you, please make sure you take it home again!

Thursday 17 April 2014

Nepalese Silk - Handspun & Zaguri

Silk is a natural fibre that we have been working with for some years now, but we are pleased to say that all of the silk we now work with comes from silkworms reared and spun in Nepal. We'd like to keep our sourcing and production within Nepal and rely less on fibres brought into the country, namely from China and India.

The image above shows the cocoons of bivoltine silk worms (worms having two broods a year). The worms have been removed to keep silk purity to a maximum. These silk worms are found in sub-tropical hilly regions and are said to be higher in quality than the multivoltine silk worms found in tropical regions.

The empty cocoons are washed in hot water and made ready for hand spinning. The image below shows a lady creating a handspun yarn with a pedal powered wheel. The organisation we work with was established to promote Nepalese silk and also uplift the economic status of the many women employed in the various regions throughout Nepal.

Sericulture and silk production are relatively new to Nepal, but a valuable sector for organic and sustainable development and more than worthy of our support. We are delighted to add a handspun undyed silk yarn to our craft materials available on our stall and also online in the coming weeks. The silk yarn is available in 50g balls. The image below shows a scarf that has been loosely woven from handspun Nepalese silk.

The final image shows what we know as 'zaguri' silk.
Zaguri is a spinning process (originating in Kozuke, a silk-producing area of Japan) where the cocoon is left intact so a continuous individual filament can be extracted. Depending on the denier of the silk thread being reeled, the craftsperson would take multiple filaments from different cocoons to produce an even thread. The zaguri silk thread in the image has been made up from  fifty filaments.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Soapnuts, a gentle option!

When dealing with naturally dyed fabrics, it's important to use a gentle detergent that is kind to delicate fabrics. Even if the fabrics could withstand strong alkaline soaps, the natural dyes won't. Along with some of the branded gentle soaps, we have always recommended the use of soapnuts as a great option for both your naturally dyed clothing and the environment.

 Coming very soon to Sorazora are these cotton pouches filled with 100 grams of soapnut shell. 'Sapindas mukorossi' also known as Indian Soapberry are rather tall trees found in Northern India east to the Himalayas. The drupes (soapnuts) have been used for washing for thousands of years and are both organic and environmentally friendly. Used soapnut shells can easily be disposed of on a compost heap.

Load approximately 15 to 20 grams of shells into the pouch and tie firmly. For warm or hot washes, simply toss the pouch into your machine with your washing.
For cool washes, first soak the pouch in hot water for a few minutes to activate the saponin in the soapnut, then toss into your machine.
It's fine to leave the pouch in the machine whilst on spin. After use, simply dry and it's ready for reuse for upto three washes or until the soapnuts loose their soapy feel when wet.

For any information about this or any of our products, please feel free to contact us.

Mini Loom Frame

We are now back in the UK after an exhausting production period in Kathmandu and looking forward to introducing our new products through our online store and market stall.


The first product I wish to introduce is our handmade mini loom frame that we designed to be as compact as possible and work in conjunction with our popular mini rigid heddle. The frame works equally well for tablet weaving.

 The loom frame has been constructed from a beautiful dark hardwood called 'Saz', a large sub-tropical tree found in the Himalayan foothills upto altitudes of 1200m. Full instructions on assembly and use are included and presented with the mini loom in a box constructed from handmade Nepalese lokta paper.

The image above shows our loom frame in its box and also the mini rigid heddle which is sold seperately.
The main advantage of using the mini loom is that all the warp threads are neatly stored on a beam and also that the warp threads are held equally spaced out from start to finish (allowing for a wider strap to be woven). These advantages are absent if pegging out all your warp threads between to single points.

During the next few weeks we plan to make this product available online along with all our other new items. If you have any questions regarding this or any of our products, enquiries are welcome as always.