Wednesday, 27 November 2013

yet another chai break!

Every journey either starts out with chai, or within an hour it is a necessity.    En route to Arkola we stopped for refreshments

not only was chai available but fresh fish and chicken
now we do like a bit of fish   had to stop on the way back

the fish man - hair recently plastered with heena

the fish

the cook

the dish  spice fry fish
garlic, lemon juice, turmeric, chillie
and to finish a sprinkling of coriander

to be served on newspapers accompanied
by a Kingfisher beer


Back in Udaipur for fives days.  Oh, the comfort of a soft bed, after sleeping on planks and a thin mattress, at the farm.

Time for a little relaxation, meeting friends, and perhaps a little shopping!

First a trip to Arkola to meet the block printing family.   We go there every visit, and enjoy seeing what's on the printing tables or drying in the sun.

a very healthy indigo vat

pomegranate skins for the orange colour

an assortment of rusty things for black colour

printing cloth

finished cloth  washed and waiting for ironing

I bought some block printed fabric;  couldn't resist two silk scarves;  and  20 mtrs of
beautiful Indian cotton (now going home by sea).    It's so soft and dyes beautifully.

All around there is cloth on the ground drying.   Some plain dyed, ready for the block
printing process.  Others are waiting for over dyeing.   Pots of dye everywhere.   It made
my fingers (which for once are very clean) twitch.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


It's good to be back again.    Off the main road, up through the busy small towns you arrive at Ghanerao Palace, now a Heritage Hotel.      We stayed here last March, and the main courtyard was full of equipment for the Bollywood movie being filmed in the palace.

It was to have been three days wandering the countryside, alas my foot is still not 100% but I can enjoy the peace and tranquillity.  Our little courtyard is only one floor up, and the courtyard for dining, is one narrow staircase on the net floor.

Every evening two coach loads of tourists arrive, they change, have dinner, go to bed and disappear around 7.30 am.   They all appear to be on a mind numbing tour of Rajasthan.
Fifteen days from Delhi, covering all the major cities, and back again.  That's a lot of sight seeing and travelling.   Far to much to take in everything and enjoy the experience.

One night the Spanish groups' leader complained about everything and seemed to spend most of the evening dashing hither and thither.  Whilst the French contingent took thing at a slower place, managed to lose themselves, so we acted as guides and Keith was taken as a member of staff by a lady complaining of a dirty towel   Oh, well, we did our best!

Keith's birthday, and he is fishing.   Enjoying the process, but no fish,
Myself, I am laying on a rug enjoying the sun!

At night we go to sleep accompanied by the sound of fireworks and music.   It's the Wedding Season, and they sure know how to party.   It seems the most auspicious time for the actual ceremony is 2.00am.   Can you imagine?!!

Leaving the Palace one morning, just outside we found the groom on his horse surrounded by his family ready to start his procession.

the band

the men of the family  having a grand time

and the ladies

the groom set off on his big adventure
(looking rather worried)

the village store

the days were spent leisurely.  Keith and Samshu wandering,
whilst I found somewhere to sit in the sun with my binoculars
no complaints

on the way to Ghanerao

Leaving Jodphur we headed south towards Ghanerao.   Early in the morning the city was
amazingly quiet.   No so much traffic clogging up the roads.   Four horsemen on beautifully decorated horses galloped past.

The landscape changes from scrubby desert sand to green cultivated fields, with the Aravelli Hills appearing in the distance.     We stopped every now and then to stretch our legs, a little bird watching and taking in the views of the countryside.

fields of marigolds

Another puncture, this time caused by glass on the road.   You really do have to be a good car mechanic here, no easy call to the AA for assistance.    Samshu and Keith had the wheel off and new one on in minutes.

chai and breakfast stop

As ever in India, there is always a wonderful synchronicity.  Four miles down the road we found a puncture repair shop, and on the other side, breakfast awaited.  Stuffed paratha, 
curd/yoghurt and a cup of chai.  Delicious.

With repaired spare tyre in the boot and full tummies, we set off on the road to Ghanerao, now only two hours away.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

a little excursion

South of Jodphur there are the villages of the Bishnoi tribe.   They look after their land and animals, and also respect the local wild life.

Each village is know for a particular skill.

The Village Potter

These big water pots are made by coiling the clay and when semi dry
they are 'tamped' to shape with a wooden mallet

pots fired and ready for sale to the local villages   too fragile for us to bring home

the potter's children

The man who makes sand animals

first a demonstration on throwing a pot   the wheel is whizzed round with 
a stick the clay placed in the centre and drawn up to a even column
then the moulding of a small pot begins   within minutes a perfect pot

following on from that a lid was made and it was a perfect fit - clever
I have seen this done many times  still amazed at the process

and yes he does make animals out of sand (clay)

As ever, there is always the need to stop for chai, an interesting experience, you never
know who might turn up.    This time the chai man and his friends were 'doctors' determined to help restore my foot back to health

after this picture was taken, a further consultation was required, meaning I had to sit on a mat and have my foot prodded.   Enough, don't touch' my toes!   A tube of cream was bought from the local chemist, which proved very good indeed.    

The Durry Weaver

all natural dyes, apparently   woven from cotton, or wool
each medium sized durry takes about a month to complete

in the compound there are kuba huts where you can stay
have supper under the stars and explore the countyside

Enough for one day, time to put my foot up and try the magic cream.

I am still on catch up time!   Blogging is interesting, as in when the publish button is pressed, everything disappears and I have to cross my fingers that the post is there.
So thank you for your comments - it's almost too exhausting to go back into Blogger to acknowledge them!

Gin and Indian Tonic time!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

community of dyers

Moving on to Jodhpur for a couple of days, we were introduced to a family of dyers.   Fortunately by now I can do a sort of slither and hop!

lots of children 

Turban cloth hanging out to dry

Dupattas fresh from dyeing

piles of muslin ready for packaging

Bhandani cloth being dyed

screen printed turban cloth on the roofs

the washing machine that has seen better days

Friday, 22 November 2013

view from my charpoy

We're back in Udaipur after a interesting few days upcountry.   Far away from everything, which was very nice.

We travelled up Abu Road, which cuts through the Aravelli Hills.   All is lush and green.  Only a few villages to be seen. The road is fantastic, no lumps or bumps and even the lorries seem to know which side to drive on.   Apparently it is not advisable to travel this way after dark, the tribals might get you!!!  Mind you, I wouldn't advise driving on any Indian road after dark.

So, we arrive at a small town called Silori, turn right, and eventually to the farm where we stayed for three days.   The aim to find leopards up in the hills.   Our host is a charming man, and we were introduced to his 'missus'.

Our accommodation could best be described as basic.   A cottage with two Army beds and nothing else.  Fine, we didn't plan to spend much time inside.

Into the jungle in search of leopards.   Bumpty, bump.   Into a hole.  My foot went down, then up and down again with a bang.   One tyre punctured. However, two leopards (I have so say it) spotted.  Quite a wonderful experience.

In the morning my foot was in agony.  Nothing broken, just a bad sprain.   Best remedy was to put my foot up and rest.   A bowl of hot sand was brought for 'treatment'.   I guess the equivalent of our wheaty bags.

looking out over a field of chillies and aubergines

a lady bringing home carrots, with shy goat

the porch where we had hilarious suppers ending up with magic tricks

Watching the world slowly go by was not a bad thing.    I had many 'doctors'
offering their advice, in unusual circumstances.  More of that later!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

so fabulous - so frustrating!

welcome to Udaipur

We arrived as the sun was rising.   All the 'boys' at Lake
Pichola Hotel greeted us with warmth, just like coming home

A lazy day, recovering from traveling, and enjoying being here.
A little stroll in the afternoon to say hello to our friends in the
old town.    Supper then bed, ready for the day.

Ha, ha!  Indian crazy  Keith bought a new sim card for his mobile.
I bought a Dongle so I can get wifi anywhere.  It only took a mind
numbing two hours, with all the noise of a political march, complete
with drums and fireworks.   Then to Mr. Bharat for new glasses.

We have a small share in an Indian 4 x 4 for long journeys  Samshu tells
us that the police have requisition this for the forthcoming elections.
He will get petrol money, but nothing else.    The police will not budge,
they will use the car, tough.  So we will use a small car and enjoy the
fact that they will be advertising Samshu's website designed by Keith
as shown on the window sticker!

 Today Keith has given up on his new sim card from Airtel.   My dongle
is not connecting.   Back to Vodaphone. New card for Keith.  Much
head scratching about my connections.  Grr......Chill, think clam thoughts.
Situation on going.   We are setting off tomorrow morning for a few days,
destination unknown, except it is in a northerly direction.   Hopefully the
dongle situation can be sorted before we leave.  Glasses are good.

So, what to do - shopping of course

nice textiles


not all are for block printing
some are to mark fabric for bhandani tie dye

time for a much needed gin and tonic   the temple bells and drums
are filling the air as the lights sparkle over Lake Pichola

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Journal Quilts

Oops, missed two months.

Here's the September Journal Quilt


A sample from dyeing workshops.   After going through all the
stitching, tying, binding and folding techniques, I do my party
piece - The Swirl.  So quick, so easy, and always greeted in
true hippy style.  Wow!

And perfect for Fireworks Night!

So, instead of just putting in away, I thought it would be a good
subject and also a record of Summer 2013.

I am going to have to take some stitching with me to catch up.

a blank canvas

different fabrics stitched on a cotton background and dyed
a couple of 'found' textiles from Rajasthan   the whole thing 
will be covered with hand stitching, embellishments, and 
whatever else I might find along the way.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

how to.....................

Lei left a comment on my last post asking if I could make the size of the paper spools a little larger so they would fit on the sewing machine.    I replied, but just for fun here is the first little tutorial on my blog.

(written in my best Sunday wobbly writing)
free machine stitching

I have a wonderful Swedish thread winder.   The plastic stick (used for mixing my gin and tonic en route to India)  is the perfect size for the spool and the winder.    The paper is old class notes.  Recycling at its best.

To use the thread on the machine you will need:

A small jar/glass
Blue Tack
Kebab stick or something similar

Place the Blue Tack in the bottom of the jar/glass.   Stick the Kebab stick into the Blue Tack.   Place jar to the side of the sewing machine.   I thread through the holder for the bobbin winder, across to the normal threading points.   Alternatively, place the jar at the 
back of the machine and thread up in the usual way.

I use normal sewing thread in my bobbin.   Test the tension before you stitch.

You might notice I have signed my masterpiece.     There is a reason.

Whilst doing a little research before we set off, I was surprised to find images of my work on the web, not accredited to myself.    I know the source.    Mail sent.

When I take workshops I love to share, and I'm happy for students to take photos of my Indian textiles, along with samples for their own use.  I do not expect to find my work advertising workshops being taken by someone else.

It is a very sad state of affairs, and perhaps I am a bit naive.  So now perhaps I should consider having students sign a form accepting that condition.  Then there is the content and photos on the Blog.   Oh dear, it's a big bad world out there.