A Woven Life
Jenny Housego and Maya Mirchandani
Richly layered and remarkably candid, A Woven Life is anything but an ordinary memoir. Life-writing at its truthful and unapologetic best, this is the story of a textile historian, entrepreneur, and collector with an eventful and adventurous life-story. As a child in countryside England, Jenny Housego had thought she would grow up to be a spy, but life had other plans. Brought to the world of Asian textiles, art and Museums, she has over the last five decades travelled across Asia with a passion to document traditional, local, and nomadic weaves and handcrafted textiles. In collaboration with Maya Mirchandani, Housego lays bare her idyllic childhood in the aftermath of the second World War; her aspirations of being in the arts and then as a researcher at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the struggles of falling in and out of love and a broken marriage; of parenting; and her passion for Indian textiles having established herself as one of the most successful British entrepreneurs working in India who co-founded the luxury brands Shades of India and Kashmir Loom.
Jenny Housego is a textile historian, designer and co-founder of Kashmir Loom. She has helped inspire a generation of Indian craftspersons to raise their skills to new heights of creativity and excellence. During her over three decades in India, she has ventured across the country to work with weavers and embroiderers to forge new ways of combining their traditional craftsmanship with contemporary designs. She also co-founded the successful brand Shades of India. Her work in Indian textiles added to India’s place on the world’s luxury map. Also active in numerous social projects in India, Jenny has not only revived ancient weaving techniques that had all-but disappeared, she also ensured the livelihoods of families from Haryana to Kashmir and West Bengal. She is the author of Tribal Rugs: An Introduction to the Weaving of the Tribes of Iran and of Bridal Durries of India. Jenny lives in Delhi and is often found at museums or brunching with her gang.
Maya Mirchandani is an award-winning Indian journalist with interests in Indian Foreign Policy, South Asia, and identity conflicts. She moved to research and teaching after over two decades with NDTV India. She teaches Media Studies at Ashoka University and is a Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation. As a journalist, Maya survived a suicide bomb attack at President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s election rally in 1999; reported on 9/11 as the planes hit the World Trade Center in New York; survived pro-government mobs attacking the media during the Anti-Mubarak protests in Cairo, Egypt. From Moscow to Washington DC, Cairo to Islamabad, Freetown, Sierra Leone to Rangoon, and several places in between, Maya has traveled extensively, always in search of a good story to tell.