Coco came to Auroville in 1973. For one year she worked in the Fraternity settlement and initiated there a Kindergarten cum crochet workshop. She then returned to Germany for three months to wind up her affairs, and when she came back she started her own crochet workshop in the Hope settlement at the other end of Auroville under the name of Aurorachana. (Rachana is a Sanskrit word for creation). She worked with 15 girls from Kuilapalayam village, mainly producing lampshades, curtains, bed covers, etc. Around 1979 the girls had been additionally trained in embroidery, which could be best implemented in combination with tailoring. According to the demand at the time, the tailoring section developed quite well and export orders were coming in. Throughout the eighties and beginning of the nineties, the tailoring activity sustained the development of the community of Hope, and Coco could express herself through designing garments, and occasionally through special designs for dance groups and other cultural costumes.
In the early Auroville years nothing
much could be purchased in the
budding township itself, and nothing was processed either. As the Hope
gardens provided an abundance of seasonal fruits, Coco started to cook
jams, make peanut butter and bake bread as a sideline, out of which
the Hope bakery developed later with its 'Delicacies'.
From 'Delicacies' to 'Aurorachana'
For many years Coco had collected old brass items from the market and small antiques for her house, and she always admired the old craft and carving art from local artists. Her dream was to have an antique shop and to deal in these sort of items. In 1993 that dream came true, and in collaboration with a friend in Germany a first container with colonial style furniture was ordered and sent. The couple then started to collect old furniture and employed carpenters to restore the often broken pieces to their former beauty. Once started, there was no stopping, and the sales and purchase just took its own course.
Today Aurorachana is exporting an average of ten containers per year, and has 30 full time employees and many subcontractors to handle the work. Of course, all Aurorachana's employees are paid provident fund, and medical insurance for their whole families, including their children. Part of the profits also find their way to the benefit of the workers.
Specialising in restoration
four years Coco and Clemens have been working with a French restorer
in order to learn the details of European restoration and to constantly
improve the training of the carpenters and the quality of their work.
Many tools and machines have been imported to comply with this high
standard of craftsmanship, and the wax applied for the final touches
is imported from Belgium to give a high quality finish.
Import & export facility
Out of the need to take the utmost care in handling of the sometimes fragile goods, Aurorachana has developed an import & export facility to keep control over the movements of goods and to make sure that the containers arrive in good condition. This service extends also to Aurovilians and people from Pondicherry, who often have problems with Customs or other related procedures.
See also www.aurorachanaexport.com
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