Wednesday, January 23

Kochi Muziris Biennale - 2

 Messages from the Atlantic Passage would count as one installation which I found very thought
provoking, hard hitting, shocking.
The slave trade was brutal and inhuman.
 I think it spoke to me more because I had seen the holding cells in Zanzibar where slaves captured on mainland Africa were held to be auctioned and shipped to the Americas. Cramped, dark, dingy and suffocating. A channel in the center of the cell was their toilet, cleaned when it was high tide.
The slave trade may have come to an end but as human beings we continue to exploit the poor and vulnerable. It's human trafficking that's talked about today, no different from the slave trade. 
What a pathetic lot we are.

Monday, January 21

First post of 2019 - The Kochi Muziris Biennale -1

Hello, my year has gotten off to a good start with a visit to the Kochi Muziris Biennale.

Image result for maati maa earth mother shambhavi

 The work of Shambhavi - Maati Maa (Earth Mother)
The use of agricultural impliments. 
The use of light to create interesting shadows.

 Spoke to the embroiderer in me.

Monday, December 31

Last post for 2018

 This is a commission for a very precious baby. The last piece of work I've done in 2018.
2018 I can say had it's share of ups and downs, nothing alarming.Nothing we couldn't resolve or cope with.
Some fantastic commissions and teaching assignments which meant travelling to new places and meeting great people. We closed our bed and breakfast but that's given me more time and energy to pursue my creative pursuits.
This quote pretty much sums up the year for me
Life is amazing. And then it's awful.
And then it's amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful its ordinary and mundane and routine.
Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary.
That's just living heat-breaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it's breathtakingly beautiful.
- L R Knost
I'm sure 2019 will be an exciting year 'Your works are wonderful and I know that full well' Psalm 139.
Wishing all who stop here a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019. I hope you discover for yourself that life is amazing. 

Saturday, December 15

Landscapes painted with mist


It's the monsoon season, the north east monsoon. 
I sit out on the deck with the dogs and the landscape keeps changing.
The mist paints a new picture for me to view every other moment.
I'm a sunshine person and I'm waiting for the clear blue skies and warm toasty days of winter to arrive but for the moment I am enchanted by the dynamic mist painted landscape.

I'm excited about a Patch Swap in February. If you are looking for a small project to start the new year with, this might be just the thing. Find out more at gatherwhatspills on Instagram. 

Friday, November 23

A Book exchange and Baby Blankets

Social media is my window to the world. I stay connected with friends and family.
It also got me involved in a book exchange and a knitting project to benefit babies in an orphanage. 
I sent a copy of Ruskin Bond's - A Book of Simple Living to a complete stranger. I have no idea what she likes to read but this is a book which you can pick up and open at any page and read. 
I received it from a friend and I think of it as one of my favourite books. 
The book exchange promises you 24 books but I haven't received a single one to date. Maybe I'll never get one because it's over two months. Who knows I might be surprised.   
The other project I made a contribution to is one that involves making 6, 6" x 6" knitted squares to be joined up and made into baby blankets for babies in an orphanage in Delhi.
The temperature in North India is dipping and I'm glad some babies will be snug and warm.
Tehmina is the lady behind this project and she is also knitting caps for street children. 
I spent a whole day figuring out the size of needles, number of stitches and rows required to make a 6 inch square. I started with stocking stitch but the squares tended to curl up. it was then that I discovered that there were some stitches like garter stitch and moss stitch which would make flat pieces of knitting without the edges curling up. It's the rib which keeps the knitting flat in a hand knitted sweater.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 14

Anyway - A Commission

 I was contacted in September by a lady via Etsy to embroider a poem - Anyway by Mother Teresa as a farewell gift for her boss. To a number of you this might not seem unusual but for me it was unexpected and unusual. Let me explain.
For one my Etsy shop has been closed for a long time, so the first message in our conversation of fifty messages to date I thought was some sort of publicity message from Etsy and I didn't read the mail for a couple of days. When I did decide to check the message I had to change my password because I had forgotten it, that's how long it's been :)
 Laura had  seen pictures of this poem I had embroidered for my sister about six years ago and wondered if I could embroider something similar. I was happy to oblige and for the next one month I spent creating Anyway.
 I am amazed at how the world wide web and the internet puts us in contact with people halfway round the globe and the world then becomes your marketplace.
It's also about doing your best and doing whatever it is with love and passion and somehow at the right time the stars will align and you will be given another amazing opportunity.
 It's been wonderful working on this commission. I was not aware of this poem by Mother Teresa and I've come to like it very much. I've embroidered the poem in blue on a white ground because the Little Sisters of the Poor wear white sarees with blue borders.
Waiting to hear about the recipient's reaction.
I'm going to restock my Etsy shop and wait and discover how the dots connect.

An update.

Dear Maya,I hope that you don't mind me writing to you directly, but I'm not a good blogger and I didn't want too much time to pass before I write you this thank you.  (If I had to figure out how to blog, this note might take ages to come!)
You must know Laura quite well by now.  She is the wonderful assistant to my husband and she came up with this remarkable idea of taking his favourite poem and having it made into a wall hanging masterpiece.  Your handiwork is so exquisite and the colours you selected, based on the colours of the Little Sisters of the Poor's habits, show how much you care about your work.  The story of how Laura and you got together in spite of your having been off Etsy for a while seem like it was meant to be.My husband was so moved when he received the gift and I was so moved at all the time and effort and skill that went into its creation. I enjoy embroidery and had done a fair bit of it myself in the past, but yours is on a whole different level.  We are looking forward to selecting just the right place in our home to show it at its best. 
As you said on your post, "It's also about doing your best and doing whatever it is with love and passion and somehow at the right time the stars will align and you will be given another amazing opportunity."  You obviously did your best with love and passion and Gary was VERY lucky that the stars aligned correctly and that HE was given the amazing opportunity to receive such a beautiful gift, one he will cherish forever.

Thank you, Maya.

Warm regards,

This additional comment in no way diminishes the value of the poem, or the beauty of your design to present it. However, another sweet twist is that the poem has been mistakenly attributed to Mother Teresa. See the back story using this link.
When I saw this comment, I was quite shocked. As a creative person when you have your work attributed to somebody else, it is heart breaking. After a point the myth becomes a legend and then there is no way you can changes things.
This is my way of letting people know that  Kent M. Keith is the author of The Paradoxical Commandments which he wrote as a 19 year old at Harvard.
Please use the link to know more.

Thank you Bernice for letting me know. 

Thursday, October 25

Teaching the History of Indian and Western Costume and Traditional Indian Textiles

  I spent about two weeks teaching a bunch of enthusiastic students the history of Indian and Western Fashion and Traditional Indian Textiles at the Kerala State Institute of Design, Kollam.
The weaving studio.
I couldn't decide which was my favourite - the owl or the chameleon
 The Foundation studies classroom which overlook the amphitheater. 
A wonderful campus with fantastic murals on the walls of the buildings.

 The Product design workshop.