Wednesday, 26 November 2008

And another!

of number crunching,

Worn and loved 'jutties'.

Detail - the strap in the middle is only attached at the base and top.
Every sequin stitched by hand, as they say.  Hand dyed fabrics,
with machine and hand stitching.

So, now I have caught up with the most urgent, I can concentrate
on the nearly urgent list.  First up, preparation for Shibori
workshop I am taking at the Mill on Saturday,

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Journal Quilt No.2

A Parcel from India

I try to be a tidy worker - you know the sort of thing,
project completed, time to find the floor and worktop
ready to start afresh.  Following this principal 
yesterday lunchtime I chanced upon the calico 
parcel wrapping.     This just had to be preserved in
the form of a Journal Quilt.

Sending a parcel home from India is never straight
forward.   First you have to find contents - not difficult.
Step 2 a tailor is required to stitch said contents in
calico wrapper. complete with sealing wax.  Step 3
a visit to the Post Office - forms upon forms to
complete, and remember to bring your own Sellotape.
Eight weeks later, on a grey English winter's day,
the postman knocks on the door with a very
grubby package full of Indian goodies.
Happy day.

Back to front quilting

Frenzied blogging and stitching!   I have lists, 
it's grey and cold outside.  Another two days
creating, and then comes the day which will
not wait any longer - doing The Books.
Hmmm.......what shall I do next?!!!!

Friday, 21 November 2008

One Journal Quilt finished

My Journal Quilt 'to do list' has decreased to five!
This one is for the Contemporary Quilt Group.
Entitled "Ragwaar" it is loosely based on 
wall paintings from Madhya Pradesh.
Great fun mono printing - a bit bold.
It is heavily free machine stitched.

Spirals - one thing I did learn when visiting the Museum at
Sarnath, the Buddha's curls go to the right.  So the way to
go when stitching the spirals on the dots were, obviously
to the right.     The Museum is really inspiring - wonderful
sculptures from the Gupta period, beautiful bronzes, and
the 3rd century Lion capital of the pillar erected by Ashoka 
at Sarnath.  Standing at 2.5m it is very impressive. 
Adopted as India's national emblem.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Festive Garden

Holly - mystical tree of winter, the red berries protecting the
house since pre-Christian times,  Wards of lightening.
The tree is loaded with berries - a sign of a hard winter,
also a good larder for the birds.

Ivy - the berries were once recommended as a cure for rheumatisim.
The fruit forms by November and ripens  by Christmas.

Mistletoe - sacred plant of the Druids, who cut it with a golden sickle.
Associated with fertility, from which developed the 
custom of kissing under it.
For years I have tried to 'grow' mistletoe on it's traditional tree, the apple.
This is growing in three large clumps on a maple tree, a gift from a passing bird.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

This morning.....

I have been working on my journal with ideas for a small panel

Monoprinting on calico, the base for a Journal Quilt.

Work area all cleared and the sun in shining.  Perhaps a breath of cold air, a big black sack, a rake and a shed load of autumn leaves to clear might be the next option.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Fresh start

It's amazing what a good nights sleep can do, plus a word with Ganesh, the remover of all obstacles.

Tidy house - tidy mind?   Not only housework done, washing and ironing as well.  Paperwork done and dusted .  So with a clear head I got the chance to add to my Spice Route Journal - jottings, ideas, cuttings, etc.

Found my textile paints and Indian printing blocks, made a creative mess, which is all very positive.   I think I know where I am going with at least one hanging.   A tiny bit of stitching to see how things will work out.   That's better!

Lovely doors, hidden down an alley way in Old Delhi.   Probably three hundred years old - would love to have had an invite to look inside.

The postbox is one of my favorite sign posts - I know exactly where I am.  Not too sure of using it for its proper purpose - I can imagine any letters inside are now historical documents.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Moving on

What a week.   It's been all go - getting back to reality in the raw, an informal workshop on batik with my chums of Just 10.   Oh, I'd rather be in India!   So much to contend with and feeling very tired.

Onward and upwards.  My friend Liz and I have been collecting wonderful textiles from India over the past year as part of a new venture.   We sent out loads of handouts to friends and colleges advertising the Christmas Emporium. So many scarves and warps made by master weavers, silk from Varanasi, organic cotton and silk, wool, delicate scarves with mirror work: delicious embroidered bags by tribal artisans;  silver jewellery from Rajasthan, plus loads more.  Hand made books. All gorgeous stuff.

All a bit of a learning curve.  Uptake on handouts 20%.   Interest in items for sale 100%

So now we have to have a positive marketing campaign for 2009. We know we have amazing stock.  What to do next?  All a bit head scratching.  Mad solutions 1. travelling VW camper, 2. a yurt, with amazing intereriors - a taste of the East, luscious hangings and candles.   Think I might have to go to bed and dream.

Tomorrow a general tidy up - the house has been taken over - then to concentrate on the three hangings i have to complete by the end of December, various workshops, not to mention Journal Quilts which are lining up in a very scary manner.

Monday, 10 November 2008

From the spice market

We took the long walk up Chandi Chowk to find the Spice Market.   I had envisaged a huge wholesale area full of spices, tea and flowers.   What we did find was many small shops full to bursting with spice, dried fruit, tea and the unknown.

After investigating a couple of alleys we did find a distribution centre.  The air was thick with spices - it was like breathing in cough mixture.    Porters carrying sacks on their head or pulling handcarts with impossible loads.

We were directed to a building where chillies were being processed.  Decided to give this one a miss.  Breathing in assorted spice dust was challenging -  powdered chillies really didn't bear thinking about.  We heard later the workers have to cover themselves as best they can to cope with the hard working conditions.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Udaipur,Delhi and home

A relaxing time in Udaipur, just lazing around, with a little bit of shopping thrown in.   Keith's necessary purchase of big leaf Darjeeling tea,  visits to the jewellery shop and mooching in textile emporiums.

Our friend Ranu, performing at Chandipol Ghat.  Beautiful Rajasthani music.

Ranu and his wife listening to Keith's iPod.   He recorded Ranu playing in February.  Ranu was pretty impressed, and very happy when he was given a CD of his music.

So after a few days in Udaipur, with blue skies and the lake (which is getting very low - yet again a poor monsoon), we flew to Delhi.

A bit of a shock - fog, pollution, humid, with a pale yellow sun.   Apparently a weather inversion, cold coming down from the north, sitting over the hot air.   I hope so - been to Delhi many times, but never experienced such horrid conditions.

We opted for a homestay with Pervez and Lubna.   A great choice - made very welcome and home cooked supper delicious, shared with our hosts, and two couples, one from America and the other from Germany.   Much better than any of the hotels we have stayed in before, with the exception of The Imperial Hotel.   Dating back to the days of the Raj, it's the best.  We did treat ourselves a few years ago, but now it is just too expensive.  

One day in Delhi was enough.   We took the Metro to Chandi Chowk in Old Delhi - three cheers for the Metro.  Clean, fast and cheap.  Guess the auto rickshaw drivers are not too pleased.   Chandi Chowk (Moon Square)  is a maze of narrow streets with shops stuffed with fabrics, festive and wedding goods, fruit, veg and spice markets.   A chaotic mass of people and bicycle rickshaws, men carrying impossible loads, and the ever present holy cow.

Metro to Connaught Place, the centre of New Delhi, for a special treat - lunch at The Imperial Hotel - delicious.  Visit to Cottage Industries Emporium (a good place to check out the prices of almost anything from all over India, so you have an idea when haggling with street traders).   Fabulous range of fabrics - at 75p a metre I had to manage to find some space in my bag.

Last sight of India Gate looming out of the 'fog' with a very strange pink sun hanging above.

As so to home.   Down through thick grey cloud, guess we are back.    The trees have really turned autumnal, and the colours on the trees along the motorway (viewed through torrential rain) were quite fantastic.

Our time in India fairly whizzed by.  Varanasi was amazing, Kanha disappointing, made up by the very helpful people in Jalapur.   Bundi a quiet delight, and a wedding anniversary not to be forgotten.   Udaipur is just like going home!

Now to unpack.

(I've linked our home stay and The Imperial Hotel).

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


Off to Udaipur

The last two posts were a bit of a nightmare - found a decent Internet Cafe. 

The stay in Bundi was so relaxing, interesting and great fun.   We were here in February and stayed our favourite hotel The Bundi Haveli, and it was good to be back there.   Lovely people, good food, and very comfortable beds!

Visiting Bundi is like stepping back in time, a bit off the tourist trail, so no hassle, just friendly folk.   The palace is amazing, said by Rudyard Kipling to have been made by goblins.   Of course, the paintings are not to be missed.

We had a driver and car for our next stop, Udiapur.    The roads are so much better than in February, two hours off the last journey.

Good to be back, looking forward to meeting up with old friends in town.

Stopping for refreshments

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Bundi 2

Underpainting of unfinished painting, as fascinating as the finished pieces.
Sticky keyboard again. and pictures not quite in order, so bear with me! The reason for returning was to revisit the palace and the wonderful blue paintings. I left Keith in charge for the main shots, while I concentrated on some details.

Keith ready to go!

Bird detail

I give up, this nasty PC is not letting me do what I want to. Time for supper and a beer.


Bundi - with the amazing palace in the background.
After a somewhat hectic night on the train - I guess people were returning home after the festival, we arrived in Kota and took a car for the hour journey to Bundi. At daybreak the land was now typically Rajastani scrub, with a few fertile area where canals had been channelled from the River Chambray. Very excited to spot The Great India Bustard!
Yes, I like things besides textiles!!
Bundi is a small town, with a certain charm. Not much has changed here, and the tourist industry hasn't quite found it yet. A few organised trips, bit,I think, mainly independant tourists. We were here in February staying in the Hotel Bundi Haveli, where we returned. Great place to stay, comfortable and friendly.

Morning and evening visitors,
from the palace.

Everyday scene - men finishing off brass water carriers. Pounding with hammers to give a finish of dull spots. Oh, how I would love to bring one of these home, but they are just too heavy.
That's it for this blog. Very sticky keyboard!