Sunday, 9 February 2014

A look at some fascinating Gond Art

When an artist friend called and said I had to go and take a look at the work of some Gond Tribal artists who were in Poona and were leaving in a few friend Laxmi and I hurriedly finished playing the last hole, skipped breakfast and drove straight to the IISER ( Indian Institute of Science Education and Research ) campus.
What a place that is !! We've driven past the gates ever so often but never bothered to look inside. Its 100 acres of land, some of which has modern buildings already there and still more construction activity happening. The fortunate ones get to study and work in this environment...hopefully we'll get a few great scientists emerging from there one day.

But we were not looking for scientists, we were looking for Subhash Vyam and his wife Durgabai...

We found them and discovered a whole new world of art ! They told us the stories behind their paintings..stories that had travelled down generations through their art since they had no written language for centuries.
All the paintings depicted a facet of their lives....bringing down honey from a hive high up in the trees, or picking fruit or more exciting ones of tigers. I wish I'd taken a good camera with me and had the time to record both picture and the tale behind it.

A close up of a bird watching the action

There was an interesting painting of a  bird with what looked like a mobile phone in its belly. This was painted by their son , Manna Sing, who is studying engineering.

Manna Sing was trying to convey the idea that a phone carries messages to your loved ones like the bird carried them: wirelessly.

Then there was this one of Dharti Mata or Earth Goddess whose arms had grown into wings so she could carry the earth and its people away to the heavens above

But my favourite was this huge canvas
Ignore the coloured bedspread in the bottom half !

Here's a close up.........

By the time we got to this painting, I was so overwhelmed with all the gorgeous colour that I forgot to ask the story !! All I know is the deer's antlers have turned into trees...Why ?? I'll have to wait to find out.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Stash Buster BOM Step 2

Ah well, the sewing room didn't get tidied up as soon as I'd have wanted to and I didn't want to start my blocks till it was really tidy, but......
The fabric was washed, sun dried, ironed and so waiting to be cut that I had to give in !
I didn't realize how hand woven fabric behaves until I tried spray starching and ironing it: it has a mind of its own and wants to go 'curvy' more often than not. So what seemed like perfect straight lines, rotary cut with a new blade suddenly became concave or convex lines when ironed.
Then when I sat down to sew, I found I had forgotten how to sew 1/4" seams :) So with a little help from Jack the Ripper and after I changed the presser foot on my machine to the 1/4" foot I got the seams right and the piecing went well.
But, it was the 31st of May and I had to get the blocks done before Linda posted the June block. So I did and here they are:

That the room needs another major clean up is another matter for another day !
What the colours remind me of is the GulMohur tree in full bloom now.
Here are some hastily taken pics on the way home, but it'll give you an idea of what I'm trying to say

The shades of deep red and orange flowers, the grey tarred road, the blue skies with white clouds and the tawny dust all seem, to me, to appear in my blocks.

Now I'm ready to see what Linda has in store for us today !

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Stash Buster BOM on Just Us Quilters Step 1

After a few months spent in the cold I'm back to hot, hot Poona. The heat has meant I'm indoors all day, and therefore on fb and all my lovely quilting groups. Just Us Quilters announced a Stash Buster BOM........and that was just the excuse I needed to go fabric shopping !!
I convinced myself that the fabric I bought in America ( enough to fill a whole suitcase ) was not quite the right kind !

 It had to be "Indian" fabric....Ikats, shots, block prints and hand woven stripes. I knew exactly where I could get all these but there was an indefinite Traders Bandh ( a strike ) so shops were shut. For two days I dreamt of nothing but fabric and hoped the Bandh would be called off. It wasn't. 
I went anyway to the shop hoping they'd be open since they operated out of an apartment and weren't in a shopping district. Lucky for me they were open and I could feast on the most beautiful, colourful fabric. 
I started off with a grey and white Ikat that I fell in love with, then picked blues and greens and more greys . But a bright yellow print caught my eye and then of course the reds and oranges followed. 
I had to smuggle it into the house and take it straight to my sewing room so nobody noticed.
This morning when everyone was out I laid out the fabric and drooled and decided I had to first get my sewing room tidied before I even started ironing and cutting the fabric !

So the big task of cleaning up a room that had been left shut and unswept for over 3 months began. Many were the times I was tempted to just clear a small area and start on my block, but I've held out (pat on my back ).
Hopefully I'll have the room cleaned and tidied today, then another day of rearranging stuff and I'm ready to go.......

Monday, 6 May 2013

A Quilt for Thabiby

I had to make a quilt for "Thabiby"...and I had to hurry up about it. But let me tell you who Thabiby is...
In November Miss T found out she was going to become a "Big Sister" soon...and she talked incessantly about her baby brother. She even asked Santa at Macy's to get her one. When asked what she was going to call her new brother the answer was always "Thabiby". It was this mysterious name that had me foxed: Thabiby ? The name didn't sound Indian or American , nor did she have any friend who shared that name so I couldn't figure out how she had decided on it.
One morning Miss T was getting her baby doll into the stroller so they could go to the park and I asked what she had named the doll. This-bibi. So I asked what her brother was going to be called and she said, "Thabiby" !!! Mystery Thabiby he is till he arrives and gets a brand new name.
But I was writing about the quilt for Thabiby........
As soon as we found out it was a boy I started looking for fabric in blues (I'm an old fashioned girl) and went on a buying spree with no plan or ideas on what the quilt was going to look like. No pattern in mind but lots of blue fabric. Then there was a lull in my enthusiasm to make the quilt because I couldn't decide on the pattern. Finally a simple log cabin type block seemed the simplest and quickest. Time was running out. The blocks were pieced and the quilt sandwich was ready but I couldn't decide on how I wanted to quilt it !! Again the lack of time took care of that decision and I quilted around the blocks. Soon the quilt was ready and I was happy, ready to pack and leave for New York in a week.

But when I showed it to my daughter and Miss T on Skype,  Miss T wanted one too !!
With hardly any time left I had to rustle up something that matched her room,  and could be got ready in 2 days with fabric I had in the house. That's when Nicola Foreman's posts (nicola foreman quilts ) on FB came to my rescue ! I knew I could copy her design with the scraps I had at home and get Miss T's quilt ready in time....The 1/2" apart lines I quilted took forever but look so good.
Madhu Mathur and Brinda Crishna had posted tutes on binding and finishing that week which were ever so useful and saved so much time !

So not only did Thabiby get his quilt but so did Miss T.

Kaffe Fassett and a new groupie, maybe !

I was hell bent on going to see the Kaffe Fassett Exhibition at the Museum of Fashion and Textiles in London. But I was returning home after three months away and so really wanted to get back as fast as possible. Luckily I could book my flights so I got a long break in London.
My flight into London from New York was delayed so by the time I showered, ate breakfast and was ready to go it was past 1 pm but had no idea how to get out. After spending close to an hour wandering around wondering if I really was the educated well travelled person I imagined myself to be, and after thinking I was trapped forever in the Departure Lounge I found my way to the Immigration queue. As always I seemed to be in the slowest line and when it was finally my turn at 2 30, I was dreaming and had to be pushed by those behind me.
The Immigration officer wanted to know why I was going out for just 6 hours so I told him all about Kaffe and his work and how I had to see it. It worked. Stamp, stamp and I was out.
Then to the Underground and to Green Park Station, walked what seemed like miles to change to the Jubilee Line and then to London Bridge Station.
Another long walk, up 2 sets of excalators and out in the fresh air hour later !
Since there was no information desk in sight, I asked a woman ticket checker if she knew where the F and T museum was.....she yelled to a colleague, " Hey Jimmy, you knows whare the Fashion Mosayum ees ?" And he just grunted back with a nod "some where that side" ! She repeated "Som whare around, you'll find it!"
So I started in what I thought was the direction grouchy Jimmy had nodded..asked some construction workers if they had any idea.Thankfully, they did !!

I had to go thru a tunnel to get onto Bermondsey St where the museum is located. But when I got there I saw shops, glass blowers, pretty buildings but no museum. Since I had come all the way I was going to walk another mile and if I still couldn't find it, turn back. Suddenly I saw a splash of colour....Found it !

The exhibition seemed a little small when I first went in, but when I thought about it and realized it was all one man's work it seemed much bigger.

Needless to say it was beautiful. A riot of colour used in the most amazing ways. There were muted combinations with sudden bursts of bright and some very, very bright work.

My absolute fav was a vignette of Kaffe's blue china 

...though the wingback chair with veggies and fruit came a close second.
And this quirky chair on the wall was just perfect !!
I dreamt all the way back to the Airport of the beautiful quilts, tapestry, knitting and paintings I had seen and wondered if I was becoming a bit of a groupie in my old age ! My children thought I was nuts going off on my own, between flights, to see something that I could wait to see somewhere one day. My DH said it made better sense to stay put at the airport and get some rest, but he suspected that wasn't happening ! I'm just so happy I went and saw at close quarters how wonderful Kaffe's work is.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Desi Quilters meet in Poona...........

Friday the 28th of September  2012

Within a few minutes of arriving, this was the scene !

At 1030 the first DQ arrived followed in quick succession by the other five. One by one WIPs, completed projects , UFO's got pulled out of bags and the buzz began.....
Kausalya showed us her ever-so-neat hand quilted cushion covers, her first quilted project

Then after all the oohs and aahs Charu got her UFOs out....another round of ooh-ing and aah-ing, because she had made large log cabin blocks in single coloured solids so the seams were the focal point. Interesting, almost architectural pictures. Charu also showed us a UFO that her daughter had started with really beautiful fabric !! Pratibha asked them to put away their professional looking projects so she could take out what she called amateurish work. Amateurish it most certainly was not ! An almost complete, beautiful, complicated 9 square block bedspread in pastel aquas and yellows, prints and solids. And of course her patchwork totes....those were smart and complete. And another set of blocks she had 'stringed' to make a bedspread. Pratibha is self taught and doesn't have the tools or know quilting terminology yet, but she has produced such lovely work !
Tanuja had brought her crochet evening bags, since she had no quilting projects with her....naturally all of us were totally 'diggin' those !
Riddhi's whole cloth quilt project for the DQ September challenge arrived just then...Its so much prettier in real life ! And her shoe bags and make up pouches were a brilliant 'gift' idea especially now with the festive season beginning soon.
Out of Kalindi's big bag of completed work came out magic ! Exquisite Japanese style purses, key holders, handbags and totes all painstakingly hand pieced and quilted...they have to be seen to be believed ! Oh yes, she did have one WIP, and that was not hand quilted but she was doing machine embroidery and FMQ. Its a wall hanging..a piece of art. We found out that she's an art student. Figures :)
( L to R) Kalindi,Pratibha, Kausalya and Tanuja

Riddhi, Charu, Pratibha and Kalindi

Tanuja about to pop in a kheer kadam before rushing to catch her flight !

By this time everyone was hungry and thirsty so we broke for tea....pretty mini cupcakes made by Riddhi, stuffed mushrooms made by Tanuja, kheer kadams that Kalindi had brought along and .....

Once we were done eating we went back to our chatting about quilting tips, ideas, tools and plans.
Four hours later we stopped but only after deciding that this was going to be a regular 'once a month' meeting, that we'd plan the next one so we had some sort of structure and learned something new or polished what we already knew. Kausalya had showed us how to cut 'whirly gig blocks the easy way and Kalindi showed us how to tie a 'posh' knot when hand quilting :) Very essential.

What was really nice was that everyone got on famously and was very willing to share and that I think is what quilting is all about.
All in all it was a fun morning and the DQs left happy and with a small needlebook to remind them of our first meet !

Any regrets ?? Just wish I'd taken more pictures !! Ah well there's always a 'next time' :)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Why our prams were special !!

Prams fit for a Princess. Lovely to look at... Lovely to be seen with... The Prestige by Pedigree £15.12.6 - All the best babies have a Pedigree...
I can see now why my mother thought the pram was special :)  I wonder how she managed to get one ? Post Independence I'm not sure it was easy.
But she'll be happy to know, wherever she watching from, that her great grand daughters are wheeled in a BugABoo which is for todays Princesses who don't need a pedigree !!