Thursday, May 29

The May TIF is now complete

The May TIf is complete and just in the nick of time. June is just a day away.We're already in the middle of 2008.
Under normal circumstances I would wonder when all that time went by and what I did, but with the little book I'm creating with the TIF pieces I make each month,I'll be able to look back and see how I spent some of my time each month in 2008.

This month the challenge was tough because it was difficult deciding how to represent all the facets that make me, me.
I started off with the little ribbon woven piece on the left hand page. Thanks Ochie for the beautiful bag of velvety ribbons.
When it came to the page on the right I cross -stitched a couple of M's ( my initial) and then you can see i went kind of berserk with the different little beaded flowers, sequins and french knots.
So are these representations of who I am or what I am as an artist? I think so because I have a number of skill sets which I draw on and adapt for the work I do . Adaptability and a willingness to change, learn and grow are key to survival in this day and age.
Looking forward to the challenge for June.

Tuesday, May 13

Night Blossom

A thoughtful young boy who came to visit last week spent over five minutes contemplating the picture before he asked if it had been published in the Open Sesame section of The Deccan Herald a couple of weeks back.I was surprised and delighted.
I'm certain its the illustration which gave added meaning and character to the short story it accompanied and it will keep the story fresh in the reader's memory long after.
All through history its the pictures and visuals which speak to us more eloquently than words.I was drawn to the intense gaze of tiny Night Blossom with her green hair,there's nothing airy-fairy about her, she means business.
The artist who's illustrations provoke lively discussion or thoughtful contemplation is Priya , whose other thought provoking views and visuals may be viewed here and here.
Thanks Priya for the illustration. Once this piece graces my living room walls there will be no awkward silences during conversations and I'm sure I can report to you what a conversation piece it has become.

Friday, May 9

Take it Further Challenge - May

I think I'm done with our little trip to the Nilgiris and can get on with reporting what I've been upto this week one of which is the Take it Further Challege for May.

The challenge is to visualise and represent how you describe youreself as an artist.

Now that's a difficult proposition.
When asked what I do my response is I'm a textile designer because that's what I qualified as.
This usually baffles a number of people and those who don't want to appear "duh!" will then ask what type of clothes I make to which I'll have to say I don't make garments or know how to sew on a sewing machine for that matter but I do know how to weave and print. Very few and usually the ones who are genuinely interested will carry on the conversation at this point.

I don't think any one term fits or describes my artistic endevours because a number of caps fit - artist, craftsperson, teacher, craft consultant and textile designer.I think the list could be endless if I can come up with variations, permutations and combinations of this list because all these areas of interest and specialisation overlap and the edges blur to become my skills, interests and areas of work.

So this month I"m going to create a collage of pieces created using the different techniques I know and use.The colour palette is a change and I'll try and stay true to it but like previous months I might stray a bit. After all if I'm describing what type of artist I am it would mean brighter and deeper tones, more Indian if you can know what I mean - refer the new look of my blog :0)

No post is really complete without a visual I think ,so here's one of the pages for Jan, Feb, Mar and April stitched together. The book I intend these challenge pages to become is slowly taking shape.
I've ironed on fusing on the backs of the pages and clear sugar beads embellish the edges of the pages. The pages stitched together form little pockets and I was wondering if I should put in a layer of sponge or not. What say?
Its elections this weekend in Bangalore. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, May 8

Colonial Clubs

Visiting the Nilgiris transports us back in time to a place where life is unhurried and everything has an old world charm to it. I'm talking about the clubs, the centres for social interaction for a group of like minded people.

Entry to these clubs are by membership only or if you come as the guest of a member.Most clubs are a hundred years old or more, they were begun when the British were still in India.

There are two clubs in Coonoor dating from the colonial era - Coonoor Club and The Wellington Gymkhana. Even the names are very British, houses have names, the house we lived in when my parents were in Coonoor is called Hatherly and tea estates round about there have names like Glenmorgan, Craig more and Glendale. Named by some extremely home sick tea planters no doubt!
Tiled roof and white bougainvillea on the porch of Coonoor Club.

A portion of the bar in Coonoor Club. The antlers of deer on the walls goes to show hunting must have been one of the leisure activities people indulged in the good old days,an activity now banned in India.There's a lot of bridge and rummy played, snooker and tennis. An indoor badminton court and gala nights. One could end up spending a lot of time at the club if you live in Coonoor because that's where everything happens. There are no malls (as yet and hopefully for a long time yet) or movie theatres.
The door leading into the Gun Bar at the Wellington Gymkhana. Children under the age of eighteen are not permitted in the bar and to be served in the Gun Bar you have to be formally attired - men in suits and women in sarees or salwar kameez, this was the rule when you came to dine in the evening but that has been relaxed. Most clubs expect semi formal attire for men and women especially in the evening so no flip flops and sportswear after six in the evening. Some clubs won't permit jeans.

The chambers or rooms at the Wellington Gymkhana are these cottages. The bearer will bring you morning tea and afternoon tea and biscuits which you can choose to have sitting on the lawn outside your cottage.
The gardeners at The Wellington Gym are an ingenious lot. Isn't the topiary delightful?
This little jumbo stole my heart. He's the cutest one ever.

Wednesday, May 7

Dahlias to Die For

The garden in Coonoor Club is small but simply bursting with colour and blooms of every sort but the Dahlias ....................... OMG are simply to die for. Perfection in every petal.

So beautiful. The Annual Flower Show is on in Ooty this weekend, the place will be a zoo but the flowers will be stunning.

Tuesday, May 6

A new Avatar

I thought Million Little Stitches could do with a make over and tah-dah a brand new avatar. What do you think?

While watching Click on BBC this afternoon I got to hear about a site where you read stories, so I checked it out and was hooked. Storytelling wedded to information technology can be fantastic. The site where it all happens is I read/viewed ( what's the right terminology?) The 21 Steps.

Another event which a number of you must already know about is the Beadwork Magazine Juried International Exhibition. Read all about it here . What's exciting for me is that its international, and this time its to do with books and beads and there's enough time to consider participating.I'm going to give it a shot.

"About the competition: To celebrate our love affair with books and beads, Beadwork announces our sixth international juried competition and exhibition: The Beaded Book! The Beaded Book is bound to bring out your creative genius. Alter a book, re-create a favorite character, bead a page of text, or make whatever your imagination can conjure up relating to beads and books. Show us your passion for books and beads in one creative effort. We can’t wait to see how you combine glitterati with literati! The winning entries will be published in a gallery in Beadwork magazine and the actual works will be exhibited at Bead Expo Santa Fe in March 2009 and Bead Fest Philadelphia in August 2009."
I couldn't resist this picture. A flower bed full of summer blooms in Coonoor Club. More pictures of the gorgeous dahlias at the club in another post. The Dahlias on the banner of my blog is from the Coonoor Club garden. Just fantastic.

Monday, May 5


When you drive up to the Nilgiris from Bangalore you pass through two wildlife parks. Its essentially one huge expanse of jungle but since its in two states its considered to be two. The portion in Karnataka is called the Bandipur National Park and the portion in Tamil Nadu is called the Mudumalai National Park.
The Flame of the Forest is in bloom.
On our drive up on Thursday we past through Mudumalai around 1.30 - 2 in the afternoon and we spotted a herd of elephants fairly close to the road. We stopped and watched them for a while and I managaed to get some pictures.
They are large but so silent and well camouflaged amidst the trees and undergrowth.
You need to drive slowly and keep a close watch of the jungle to be able to spot animals.
We didn't see any tuskers in this herd. The only movements were their ears and trunks. In the jungle they could well be overlooked and mistaken for large rocks.

You can see a herd of wild elephants a hundred times but its simply awesome each time you see them. They are spectacular beasts who you have to stop and watch and you will never ever tire of spotting a herd.You need to be alert because they are unpredictable especially if its a lone tusker or if there are calves in the herd. So there's no question of getting out of your vehicle and the engine must be kept running just in case they decide to charge.
These Langurs are striking don't you think.

Thursday, May 1


Friday's colour is Blue.
There's a lot of blue in the house because I'm partial to blue and white china but I've lately decided to narrow my collection henceforth to include only blue and white china related to tea. The storage, the brewing, the serving and the consumption of tea.

This beautiful tea pot, milk jug and sugar bowl are gifts from my sister. A little bit of Red from yesterday has crept into this picture - that's a Burmese lacquer tray.

The Willow plate was before I chose to collect only tea realted blue and white china. This delightful tea mug with a lid was picked up in either Bhutan or Sikkim, I don't remember. What a great idea to have a lid for your mug of tea.

There's a lot more blue in the house.I should have taken a picture of R's office shirts every single one of them has some blue in them.

This has been a great Colour Week. Thank-you Leya. I've discovered more interesting people through their equally interesting blogs which I shall continue to visit. Hope everybody has a great weekend.