An Artist’s Hand-Block-Printed Textiles
A Denverite’s love affair with India sparks an artistic emergence
“What moves me the most is the history of the craft and how it’s stayed the same over hundreds of years—the uniqueness of hand-drawn designs that are also hand-carved,” says Denver resident Kate Kellogg of Cardamom Designs, the growing line of hand-block-printed textiles she creates and sells.
The journey to her entrepreneurial business was anything but straight—she’s an acupuncturist by trade. But the story of her path makes it clear that, for her, when it comes to life and love, all roads lead to India.
In 1993, Kellogg, then an undergraduate student at St. Lawrence University, spent her junior semester abroad in northern India. On that trip she met her now-husband, Rob Kellogg.
In 2005, they adopted their then-2-year-old son, Milan, from Kerala. And when Milan was 12, the family took a yearlong sabbatical in the State of Kerala, City of Trivandrum, to connect Milan with his birth nation and give him the opportunity to attend school there.
Kellogg had always been an artist, with the influence of two generations of art teachers (father and grandfather) behind her, but it wasn’t until the family’s 2017 sabbatical she was able to fully focus on art.
She signed up for an artist residency—a weeklong block-printing course—at the Art Inn in Jaipur, which hosts artists from all over the world.
“Part of the draw is growing the love and connection I have to India.” — Kate Kellogg
“It was so cool to me that I could take one of my drawings or paintings and turn it into a functional item, like a cushion cover or a scarf—something that was wearable or usable art.”
After the course, Kellogg was introduced to her long-term mentor, Khushiram Pandey, a fifth-generation block printer.
When the family returned to Colorado, Kellogg continued creating her hand-block textiles. In 2019, she returned to Jaipur for two weeks, sending her artwork ahead of time, so that Pandey could carve the blocks and mix colors before her arrival. Once there, Kellogg made sample products designed to her liking, so that Pandey can easily ship products to her as she orders them.
Kellogg currently does her drawing, painting and paperwork from home, housing her inventory in a basement office. Her hope is to visit India annually and continue expanding her art. “Part of my draw to this business is growing the love and connection I have to India, the people and the culture, which has enriched my life so much over the years.”