Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Typical Walk

When I am in India, my time spent here is a blend of being a local as well as a tourist. I never leave home without a camera. You never know what I may run into.

About a day or two after I came back from the museum, I saw these hanging out in the sun.

I often pass by this area while I am in some kind of public transportation, mostly a three wheeler rickshaw. They are fun to ride, Being open from either side, you can catch so much of happenings while travelling from point A to B and are also quite cost effective.

The flip side - They are very noisy and the drivers are notorious for squeezing in every empty spot they see on the roads between two vehicles to get ahead.. You just have to trust those drivers that they know what they are doing. Honestly, 99.99% of times they do!

It's quite the experience. My kids love it! When they were little, they would get on an empty rickshaw standing on the roadside without us.. It was little scary to loose them momentarily but the drivers would honk to catch our attention. We could quickly grab hold of them :-) No worries, this would be matter of seconds.. We were very responsible parents.

I took this picture from another rickshaw. There is a limit of three passengers. we split the family in two. My husband and I went in different rickshaw.. Unfortunately, my kids don't know this town as well, and neither of them speak the language. I wonder if they would find their way back home on their own if they ever got lost.

Ooops..I got a little side tracked...

Back to the first picture..

I had seen them several times from far and assumed that they were saris hanging.. Yesterday, I was on foot and saw them from up close.  A sari folded in half with layers of fabrics between two layers, stitched into 4' x 7' long quilt/godhari..

Their humble appearance made my day! My sister in law, who was also with me waited patiently with a smile.. My friend from school who also informed me about the exhibition of Godhari said, '' Sujata, I don't understand your passion but respect and admire it.''

I guess, I must see the world slight differently than some.. and that's really fine with me and them.

Here are more random pictures of what I see on my walk.


Second-hand book store

City buses

I am leaving for Ahemdabad tonight.I have not been able to respond to all of your comments but know that they are well appreciated. Sometimes my thoughts are as random as these photographs. I apologize for that too. I hope just like those improve quilts we all love so much, pictures from past few posts paint an unusual but memorable image of Mumbai for you. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Godharis of Maharashtra

My visit to the Prince of Wales museum was a great experience. I met the author of the book, Godharis of Maharashtra. I wish you could have seen those quilts in person. They are equally beautiful as the quilts of Gee's Bend. Every single one of them is made with materials on hands for everyday use.

and the materials range from thin cotton fabrics to nylon and polyester.

Some even have embroidered patches with metallic threads.

They display the colors of daily life in India..They are bold and vibrant but also earthy because they come from used saris and skirts, shirts. The stitching is done randomly.. Most of them are heavily quilted in straight lines, very similar to the quilts of Gee's Bend. Extreme stitching gives the thin, already used fabrics new life and durability it requires during it's heavy use.

My plans to visit Rajasthan had to be postponed but because of that, I was able to visit this exhibit that ran for only three days. Also, if it wasn't for that temporary disappointment, I would not have been able to meet so many artists in person at the Paramparik Karigar show. So again, I am thankful for life's opportunity and experiencing the a true meaning of the fact, 'When one door closes another one opens up'.

Meet the author, Geeta Khandelwal. She has also served on the committee for International Quilt Study for two years. It was my pleasure to see her at the exhibition.

Appliqued triangles/ log cabin.. Can you imagine doing this by hand and then hand stitching those millions of stitches?

After spending many hours at the exhibit, I went on to visit rest of the museum.

Met some local care-takers of the museum grounds and they were happy to let me take a picture.

The window with white frame was at the right of the entrance of the exhibit. Look closely, you will see few quilts hanging in the bright sunny window. Colorful quilts soaking in all that sun! Can you imagine putting your quilts in the sunlight?

Here is the picture of that frame from Inside.

My heart skipped a beat when I saw this upon entering the hall but people in India are used to hanging their quilts on the fences, clothes line and cement walls to bleach and to air dry.

I loved the playfulness of this quilt.

If you haven't had chance to flip through the pages, I highly recommend that you do. Godharis of Maharashtra is published by Quiltmania.

Is this charming or what?

Oh what a happy day that was! My train ride was uneventful. I shared my book with a complete stranger. She was eager to know why I was taking so many pictures during the ride.

Here is a picture of the inside of a subway train. Depending on the time of travel and the train you are on, you may or may not get to seat. During the commute hours, these trains are pretty packed. The bars and handles are for support during the commute. I saw some school girls get on the train... It took me back some 35 years to my college years! Not sure if I would attempt to travel during commute hours any more.,

It is the best way to reach to the heart of city of Mumbai. I am sure I will be on the train again soon.

Hope you all enjoyed the show and tell of my day in the city.

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Arts and Crafts Show

I spent past few days visiting a local craft show held by Paramparik Karigar, an organization helping artists and their families to preserve and promote traditional crafts from all over India. This experience has been like none before. Not only I have had opportunity to talk to artists and craftsman from all over India, but also was able to purchase lot of folk art, silk saris and other textiles from karigars/craftsman who put their heart and soul into their crafts and these events.

Yesterday, at the exhibition, I took a workshop to learn traditional Phulkari embroidery from the state of Punjab. Phul is Hindi word for flowers. Mothers start working on embroidered textiles as soon as the girls are born. They continue working on them to give them as gifts when the daughters get married. The colors represent the flowers in the garden and appropriately the style is also called Bagh. 

I found out, I am not good at embroidery stitches. 

A bit of practice is needed.. ''It is not about the perfection'' she said ''But being comfortable and enjoying the stitching.'' It sounded familiar to me. 

Some more eye candy.

You can find out more about the organisation here. If you are ever in India during the times of their scheduled exhibition, DO NOT miss it. Visit their website to check more of the art and stories of Indian folk artists. 

I met some award winning craftsman. 

I can not wait to show you what I purchased from this artist after I am home. 

My sister in law bought this piece from iron smith at the show. I bought the sari with kantha embroidery. Tomorrow I am also taking the workshop to learn the kantha stitching.. Stay tuned. 

Quilts and block printed sheets were hard to resist. My dear friend Smita, showing off the quilt she loved. 

Sadly, I have only one bag to bring back. I wish I could bring the whole show with me. It's hard to resist the temptations to buy it all. Although, it seems like I am hardly succeeding at it.

 I am working with very slow internet. I wish I can blog daily to update you all on my discoveries but it seems impossible at times to sit and continue with the thought process.

I am leaving in an hour to visit the exhibit of Godharies, the quilts featured in the book by Geeta Khandelwal. I will write a full report when possible. I am taking the subway to the city after a long time. Let's see how different it is today than it was last time. It's been many years since I went to the city by myself.

Wish me luck!   

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