Saturday, 27 March 2010

Take a Potato

Well, look what we did this morning!

Printed paper bags

A bag and card

Production line

Meanwhile, Maggie who organised the
workshop, couldn't resist having a go herself.

Now to get really down and dirty. Sponges and
palettes to be washed, although I might just
have a play myself!

Friday, 26 March 2010

A touch of the Virgos

All ready for a potato printing workshop tomorrow with young people - except for the main ingredient, potatoes.  Shopping after lunch.

In the meantime I though I would look out some silk bits.  Shock, horror box.  It was a mess.  All tipped out on floor and sorted into take away bags.  Oh, so tidy now!  In theory I just have to select the appropriate bag as needed.  I still have tiny, tiny bits on the floor.  I really don't need these, perhaps blind fold hoovering is the answer.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Applying myself

This week I have set aside to sorting out my workshop files and samples ready for a  busy summer.  There's a new one on the list, Indian Applique.

Some applique pieces gathered on my travels

No careful cutting cutting using a template with seam allowance.  Indian applique is more cut, fold, and stitch.  The centre panel above is quite simple, more complicated are the squares folded and cut as we would paper squares for snowflakes.

A chakla (square hanging) - appliqued mirrorwork squares, appliqued trees (of life?), applique borders.

A detail - open chain stitch around the borders of mirror work squares.  The tree looks like it has been worked from a synthetic satin, which must have been a beast to stitch.  The body of the tree is also embroidered.

Rabari dowery bag - a combination of stitched and applied motifs, with snazzy felt pom poms.

A detail - the top and bottom borders are applied, the side borders are stitched.  The size of the applique outline is approximately .05cm.   Astonishing.  

Saturday, 20 March 2010

indigo distraction

I have been distracted from matters in hand. 
 Whilst looking for something else, isn't that always the way,
 I found a box containing an assortment of indigo squares, 
plus lots of small and big bits.

These are the remains of a workshop taken with children 
from a local school.   Four groups of twelve, shibori, and an 
indigo vat.   Each student had four squares of cotton sateen.

The squares were made into a kimono, which now hangs in 
the school.  The box contained the leftovers.

So, in the spirit of tidying up I made them into a quilt top.  
 Only small scraps were left, and I had to concede that 
these were really too small to save.

Quilt top now pressed, and packed away in the empty box 
together with backing material.  All ready for a rainy day.

Actually it is raining this morning, but I have a date with a pot 
of paint and roller.   The kitchen is in need of a little TLC.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

A little outing

No, not for me, but these 2009 Journal Quilts.  They are off to the
NEC, Birmingham for the Sewing for Pleasure Show on 25/28 March.
There should be forty sets of Journal Quilts on display.

I think I have almost caught up with myself - we will ignore the pile
of ironing which is lurking in a corner.  The sun is shining, I can see
a few daffodils in flower, at last.  Snowdrops and crocus are also
bright spots reminding me that Spring is really just around the
corner.   Time to put on really warm clothes, the wind is still cold,
and give the garden a bit of a makeover.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Banjara Embroidery

I love the vibrancy of Banjara work, from the decorated bags, purses, 
quilts et al.   Bags are usually made of loose weave linen like fabric,
dyed with madder or indigo.   Interlaced patterns on a running
stitch base, embellished with tassels, mirrors, and cowrie shells.

two embroidered belts -these are heavily stitched
over stitch, close herring bone and chain stitch
the top belt has the addition of mirror work

Originally from north India the Banjara became carriers
for the Mughal emperor Auranzeb.  With the arrival
of the railway system they were no longer required.

Nowadays, Banjara, both men and woman can be
seen doing manual labour on building sites and
working on the new motorways being built
across India.  A strange site, the newest machinery
for road building, along side Banjara women moving
earth in a metal dish carried on their heads.   Even so,
they wear their traditional embroidered clothes, 
complete with silver jewelry.  

In Kanartaka, Lamanis, a sub caste of the Banjara,
move to Goa for the season.   The 'boys' run the
food shacks on the beach, their mother's sell 
tourist clothes, bags, scarves etc.  Every Wednesday
there is a flea market at Anjuna, north Goa.  Hippie
heaven, however, here you will find Lamani ladies,
selling their traditional work.

Sonya in all her tribal jewelry glory

detail of the sleeve of her chola
Khumb buttons, mirror work and tassels
I watched her stitching.  No fine thread,
but acrylic wool.

skirt detail - cotton, pieced, with borders
of appliqued saw tooth points.

Inspired by Sonya's skirt, Banjara stitching, here is my
Journal Quilt for February.

and a detail

Is this where the moti wallers are?

A journey into the depths of Mumbai for a necessary retail experience.

they might be this way

along here?

or perhaps this street?

Found them.  Time to stock up on mirrors, beads,
and other embellishments.  Happy shopper.

Travel blog over and back to work.

Beach Life

To Colva, South Goa, again a return visit.  A few years back 
we stayed at the Skylark, recently opened by Debbie and Snowkon. 
 It was 'basic' to say the least, but comfortable. We kept in touch 
for a while, so it was good to renew our acquaintance.  Well look 
at it now.   A transformation.

South Goa is more relaxed, less crowded, than North Goa, 
plenty of good sandy beaches to explore.  The Arabian Sea, 
whilst not turquoise, was deliciously warm. 

So we walked, sat on the beach, swam, read book(s)
and enjoyed the harvest of the seas for supper.

mending the nets

and away

a traditional boat 'stitched' together


beach boy with a god's head on a tray

and Sonya - more of her later

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Mysore - Part 2

We had to decide what next to visit. High up on our list was 
Chamundi Hill.  The last time we were here we took the bus,
and returned to Mysore as guests of a party of Indians on
an outing.  How kind, no seats, so we sat, or squashed
ourselves next to the driver.  A hairy drive, suffice to say
if you were to walk to the top you would have to take the
1000 steps - it's a long way up, and down.  This time,
very sedately with car and driver.  The views from the
top are pretty amazing 

Sri Chamundeswari Temple

Walking past the temple we found the storeroom
full of festival kit.

including this wonderful elephant

Now to find the 5m high Nandi - Shiva's bull
vehicle.   I remember being overwhelmed with
the size last time, no railings then.  It glistened
with ghee and marigolds.  I wasn't disappointed.


A five hour drive to Mysore took us through Nagerhole National 
Park.  Two hours of 'jungle' - monkeys jumping about, small 
villages with at least one domestic elephant.  Flat roads, 
only interrupted by too many road bumps.  Huge teak trees,
majestic flowering bamboo plants.  Think upside down teepees.  
And so to Mysore.

We booked into Green Hotel.  Fabulous.  The main building is
a century old palace built for Wodeyar princess - we were in
the annex, our room was huge.  A truly eco hotel, everything
is sourced locally, and it donates profits to charity.

First off, forward plans.  We realised it was increasingly
difficult to arrange train tickets, etc.  Enter the Travel Desk
Man.  Our next stop South Goa.  He kindly tried to book
a car and driver for two days.  We already had spend too
much time in a car, so digging deep into pockets, we booked
a flight to Goa, and from there to Mumbai.  And relax.

Next stop Fabindia to replace my torn kurta and ripped
churidar - my I was having a good time!  Delicious supper
in the garden, and so to bed.

We had only one day in Mysore, but this was a return visit.
To make the most of our time we hired a car and driver.
Siriangapatham - Tipu Sultan's fort.  Not a lot left after
a battle with the Brits.  The Summer Palace, Darla Dulat
Barg just beautiful - no pictures please.

Travelling along the road I spotted this cart

The driver tells us that he can take us to the village where
they are made and painted.  Apparently this carts are much
sort after all over India.

The motifs painted and being 'lined' out. This brought
back images of my father.  As a young apprentice
he was taught this art.  As a child, after supper, 
the dining table often became his work station,
painting sign boards.  Holiday money. He also
 re-guilded the church clock - obviously this was
done on site!

The reverse side completed.   It seems the carts are
'limited editions'.   Several in the village have this design,
but I have the feeling after a certain amount have been
finished, another set of colourful motif are designed.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

To Kanartaka

After five days chilling out in Kerala, we moved on to the next
 state, Kanartaka.  We hired a car and drove up and through the
Western Ghats. Magnificent.  An eye popping drive, through 
nine hairpin bends to get to the top of one mountain, and then
down again.   Cars, buses, lorries, and even a little rickshaw.

So lush you could almost hear the vegetation growing.

tea estate

coffee beans

a lake at the top of the mountain

Our final destination, Mysore.  A beautiful city, and
a visit to the market.

banana leaves wrapped in paper ready to
go - disposable dinner plates

of course, bananas, and there are so many
varieties and sizes.  Really yummy.

the garlic dance.  I often wondered who
broke up the garlic bulb, imagining ladies
sitting for hours, chatting away at this
task.  All is revealed.

Jasmin garlands

paint powder, for paper, body, and
Rangoli designs

roses and marigolds to make
into garlands

Slowly through the backwaters

We walked with our guide through a garden which was a living 
spice cupboard - pepper. nutmeg, curry leaves, cumin, vanilla, 
naming but a few, plus tea bushes and coffee plants.  Lush
and green.  Eventually to our rice boat and a morning just
drifting through the backwaters.

Life is simple here - or so it appears.

Glimpses of fields abundant with banana
groves, spiky pineapple plants.  In wider
parts Chinese fishing nets.   In the water
fish and snakes (non poisonous we were
told).  Above bright kingfishers, parrots,
tiny bright birds and raucous crows.

Coconut palms every where,  Along the
way ladies making coir 'string'.  The husks of
 the coconut are soaked to release the fibres.
   When dry they are gathered into a bundle
and wrapped in a corner of a sari.  
A handful is  rolled. attached to a
cording machine. The ladies walk
backwards, feeding the dried coir.

Coconut leaves are woven

Banana leaf mat and coir string

Note the stylish bicycle baskets

Not your usual family pet