Cora + Spink x India

Setting up the C S workshop

Behind the scenes of a rather hectic workshop, adventures across India, new canvas and so much more. 

The Cora + Spink Workshop 2022.

The world is a better place when you work with happy people.

Our mantra, “every person we work with is happy” stands as strong today, as it did 7 years ago. It means many things for many people, but in practice; good wages, clean, friendly [child free] open workshops, cooperatives, local materials and labour, whilst listening to and actioning feedback, helps.

Building the business from good foundations, with a worker first approach, gives us insight to the needs of the people we employ, whilst developing products that our end customers actually want. Workers first, product second, profit somewhere.

The C+S mantra is simple, but finding the right partners to share this vision was not easy. In late 2021, we made a giant leap, with a lot of struggles, sleepless nights and cold sweats we were finally able to set up the first dedicated C+S workshop,near Delhi, India.

This monumental development now allows us even more freedom to work the way we want, at our pace, investing in the people that are making the bags.  

We can further develop those grass roots, ground level relationships, the final piece in a very complex jigsaw… watch this space for updates.

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The Waxed Canvas… up close.

Going further up the chain… The closer we get to the cotton fields, the more accountable we can be. Since October 2021, we’ve been working closely with yarn merchants in Delhi, to source cotton yarns to weave our canvas. 

The next milestone is to create our own Cora + Spink yarn. We’re holding back the exact details until launch, but if you read this 2005 article here – discussing the benefits of reducing virgin fibre content in textiles, there are some very strong hints as to what we’re hoping to achieve…

Making Waxed Canvas Today.

The unique Cora + Spink waxed canvas was initially developed over four years ago, and is being constantly improved and tweaked. An overview of the process:

1. C+S cotton is grown in the fields of Haryana, India and harvested from October onwards.

2. Yarn is woven into a raw cotton canvas.

3. In Delhi, the raw canvas undergoes a multi-step process, washing and colouring the canvas.

4. Batches, half a ton at a time receive special wax treatment.

5. Finished canvas is delivered to the C+S workshop to be made in to backpacks.

Exploring India…

April 2022, we made it back to India.

Working remotely is a amazing. Before the internet, managing a team overseas was practically impossible and so slow, drawings were sent by fax, writable CD’s were a revelation… it was a different world.

But being there in person helps us see first hand how beautiful India is, yet remind us what stark contrast to life in Europe it is. It is a world of contrasts, where wealth and poverty sit on the same street.

Cora + Spink will not make a dent on the issues faced by millions, but we can make life better for the people we work with.

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One of the most exciting stop offs on our whirlwind tour was the opportunity to visit Aga Khan Palace, Pune. This is where Gandhi was imprisoned for his political opposition to British rule in the 1940’s. Without Gandhi it’s possible to say we would have lost forever the skills needed for weaving the linings used in C+S backpacks. A beautiful, yet poignant stop on an unforgettable trip.

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Just received first samples of our new Its Navy canvas complete with a new finish applied. Different colours and different batches of canvas during the year have quite different or varying "handles", we love this change as it reflects the true nature of a natural material. But this doesn't stop us from fiddling. Here we were experimenting with a stiffener that we can apply to give the canvas a slightly different feel, unfortunately it appears the effect has affected the waterproofing... These at home tests are great for seeing immediately how the canvas may perform... #test #canvas #byhand #waterproof #backpack #waxed
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