Tuesday, February 26

Cyber Fyber

I was alerted to the fantastic Cyber Fyber Exhibition while reading a post by Anna on her blog Serendipity .I was apparently not the only one because from what I've seen most people participating in The Take it Further Challenge are also participating in the Cyber Fyber Exhibition!

"CYBER FYBER EXHIBITION is an international event scheduled at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, 808 Lady Street in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, USA from January 8th through 20th, 2009. The focus of this exhibition is to highlight the influences of Internet access for today's fiber artists."

Well, my participation in the exhibition is certainly the result of internet access and blogging. Blogland has opened up vast new vistas for me. Interacting virtually with people through their blogs who are geographically living half way round the globe is an enriching experience.

I'm trading ATC #81 and Postcard# 132 with Susan Lenz. By the time I got round to putting in a request to trade almost all 130 ATC's and 163 Postcards had been spoken for but I'm glad I'm participating. Now by some stroke of luck if I can be in South Carolina between Jan 8th and 20th 2009 the whole virtual to real experience will be complete!

Here are the ATC and Postcard I've created for the swap
The ATC is a little landscape - I think I was influenced by all the description of miniature paintings in "My name is Red" by Orhan Pamuk which I have put down for a while. The landscape is made of bits of tussar silk,embroidery and sequins. All hand embroidered and finished. The reverse has hand embroidered details of name, place, year and blog address on muslin.

The postcard has hand pieced tussar silk patchwork embellished with embroidery and sequins.The entire piece is handmade, the reverse has hand embroidered details of name, place, blog address and year on unbleached muslin.

Well I hope Susan will like them.I've had fun creating my first ATC and Postcard.I'll be visiting the post office in a day or two.

Monday, February 25

Can you tell if its Spring or Summer?

Can you tell? I think its both Spring and Summer at the moment.
You don't need the fan on when you are in the house but its hot out in the sun.
R commented "time for shorts its summer now" while waiting to go in for the matinee show of Michael Clayton ( I think its a great movie, 50% of the great factor is attributed to George Clooney, R found it too slow) and still at night ,we use our quilt.

Its all so contradictory weather wise but there are great things which result from such contradictions.
There's a strawberry glut - Rs.25 for a box of Strawberries.
My bowl of oats for breakfast gets dressed up with strawberries. Its Strawberries and curd ( yogurt) for a snack. Should I make strawberry jam? and preserve the goodness a little longer?

Season's must be changing when all the stores are having sales.My wardrobe is beginning its summer transformation- blue and white floral print cotton top. What could be better for summer, thank-you Kavita.

The 'Garden City' in Spring is a pretty sight when the Yellow cassia, Pink cassia and Jacaranda all bloom amidst all the concrete clutter which has turned the Garden city into the Silicon valley of India. For a brief period this beautiful yellow cassia will be the view from my window but once Summer unleashes its scorching heat then I can look forward to seeing monkeys on the microwave towers sunning themselves in the mornings and catching a cool breeze in the evenings. Still dependant on nature to tell me what season it is, here in India's Silicon Valley.
What season is it in your neck of the woods? and how can you tell?

Tuesday, February 19

Progress on February TIF

I've been struggling to give visual form to what I remember and this is what I've come up with.

If possible I want a little element from the previous page/month to occur on the next page/month so the feather stitch is the element which connects January and February.

The spiral form of the blue tussar applique symbolises change and the particular triangular form is typical of traditional Gujarati and Lambani embroidery. Ancient yet modern.

Next I appliqued a second spiral to symbolise the co-existence of ancient/traditional and modern side by side. So although dishwashers are available in the market everybody doesn't have one its more likely you have household help who does the washing up. Therefore a dishwasher is seen as a luxury whereas domestic help is not.

We don't really think about it ( until there's a challenge) because that's the way it is but I think it must be a startling fact for somebody visiting India.

Allison Ann Aller's comment on my first post about the February TIF has a fantastic example "Well this is very interesting to me. I love India and did get to visit once, for a month in 2001 to the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad. We went to Varanasi, too. I remember seeing a parade of camels passing under a billboard for high speed internet as we were traveling along the Trunk Road...thinking, what change this country embodies!"

Finally I'm going to embroider little lines which describe the traditional and the modern which co- exist quite happily. The first one is of Filter coffee a tradional staple in South India cafes like Sukh Sagar where there's just one type of coffee on the menu - filter coffee served in a davarah and tumbler and Cafe Coffee Day is a modern Indian coffee chain much like Starbucks which has an extensive menu of lattes, frappes and cappuccinos.

Saturday, February 16

Folk Expressions

I have been asked by NIFT ( The National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore) to participate in a ten day workshop involving a group of Lambani/Banjara women. The design brief put in one sentence would read -"This range “Folk Expressions” is contemporary in its proposition to create funky, light hearted, original accessories to wear and to adorn personal spaces with". Now that's my idea of exciting and challenging.

I've been trying out techniques to create fabric jewellery which the Lambani women can decorate with their distinctive style of embroidery as well as sketching and figuring out different products and theirdimensions.
The Lambani or Banjara are a nomadic tribe who inhabit the Deccan region of India. Their embroidery is colourful and combines embroidery and applique along with mirrors, buttons, bits of embossed metal, cowrie shells, white buttons etc. The garments which the women wear are simply fabulous, I'll get pictures and details of the embroidery to post once the workshop begins.

In the mean time here are a couple of pictures of the explorations I've been carrying out.

The "beads" are made of bits of tussar silk and strung on a length of orange cord. Stuffed with polyfil the beads are soft and spongy.
Details of some of the decoration on the beads with embroidery, sequins, beads and wrapping with thread.

Tuesday, February 12

Take it Further Challenge - February

It's almost the middle of February and I've just started work on the "pages" for February.
The challenge for February is - What are you old enough to remember? and you can take a look at the colour palette here.
I just got back to Bangalore over the weekend but I've been giving the Feb challenge some thought while I've been away in Madras finishing up the Zari embroidery project. It just struck me I still say Madras, Bangalore, Bombay and Calcutta but they have changed to Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkatta respectively and I'm not exactly over the hill. It's going to be a while I'm sure before someone looks totally blank when I say Calcutta, then I'll know I'm over the hill!!! :)
So what do I remember? I remember India before liberalisation, we made practically everything or rather anything you bought in a shop was made in the country there was almost nothing imported, post 1980's the economy has opened up and there isn't much that you can't get here, you're spoilt for choice whether its a car - there was a time when it was either an Ambassador or a Fiat, a telephone - you had to apply and wait for years before you got a landline, today everybody has a mobile phone and now you have to upgrade to the one with the latest feature- colour display, 5 mega pixel camera, blue tooth, humungous memory and the ability to upgrade, touch screen.... now everyone's waiting for the iphone to come to India .There's more choice than ever before.
What I find interesting is that life in the city or larger town is like living another country, the whole pace of life is vastly different from the little villages and towns where I go to do my craft projects, its almost like stepping back in time.I hardly carry any cash when I'm in a city, I have a credit card but it would be useless in the towns.
Women in the cities choose a profession and today you can be whatever you want to be , but I remember a time when most mum's were home makers and a "respectable" job would be to be a teacher or professor. The man was the bread winner, divorce was unheard of, its all rapidly changing.
Tailors - they were the ones who made anything you wore unless of course you had a mother who made paper patterns and could cut and sew just about anything, the tailors are still there because they are the ones who make the cholis and blouses for your sarees and they have to be customised, readymade cholis becoming the norm are a long way off but for anything else there's store after store bursting at the seams with ready to wear garments for men, women and children. Can't complain the choice is there if you want it.
Globalisation - the new mantra is here too but I hope we can keep the unique qualities of the food, language,festivals and culture alive, while we make an educated choice of what's flooding into our lives from abroad - it would be intersting to see how we've modified and adapted things, giving them an Indian flavour a couple of decades from now.
I have my work cut out for me - how do I create a visual of all this rambling and remembering.
Check back in a day or two I'm sure I won't disappoint.

Friday, February 1

Art From The Heart

While reading a post on Free Bird Sings I was informed about a wonderful give away - what could be better than a book?
Catherine Matthews Scanlon is giving away two copies of her book, Art from the Heart.

To win a copy you need to write up a post about the give away on your blog and be sure to leave a comment here so she knows you're participating and your name will get added on for the lucky draw.

The deadline is Monday, February 4th.... three whole days to go!

Good luck you never know when you could get lucky. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.