Crafty Inspiration in India

I just got back from a whirlwind 10 days in Northern India - Delhi and Agra. Here's me at the Taj Mahal in Agra. It was truly spectacular. Beyond the wonderful sights and food, I got to explore the strong craft tradition that India has, it was truly inspiring.

One of my most memorable days was spent at the Craft Museum in Delhi, wandering through its galleries to see its wide range of metal work, sewing, pottery and painting. Though this museum was actually set up by the British during their ... ahem ... stay, it covered a wide range of India's crafts. Below is a photo of a small piece of a wall full of paintings that narrated the Ramayana. I usually imagined the famous miniature paintings of India when I thought of it's painting tradition so this was a departure from that. This was an extremely large appliqué that hung on the ceiling of the main gallery. I loved the patterns on it - very beautiful. All of the textiles that we saw during our stay were beautifully patterned in bright eye catching colors with many floral motifs like this one on the appliqué.

There was such a focus on decorative elements and details in everything, from textiles to wood carving, embroidery, masonry (see above photo of the semi-precious stone work inlay on the Taj Mahal) to even your body! Their wonderful tradition of mehndi is a henna dye technique that is applied to you hands and feet. The tradition began as a decorative ritual for weddings, but has spread to be more widely used for other celebrations as well.

I can feel the wheels on inspiration going already!
So much pattern and decoration, really inspiring, i see paisley inspired tee shirts in my future with bold colors and an emphasis on natural forms.

I found some of these items from the {NewNew} using the techniques I saw in India; applique and embroidery with rich colors and floral patterns.


Friday Night Beauty Tip

Beauty, it is said is "in the eye of the beholder". Living in a culture and working in the fashion industry where external beauty can become an obsession I was pleased to find an anti-fashion designer. “Ma Ke, a chinese designer, abhors assembly lines. The trademark of her majestic line is based on burying the clothes in dirt to allow nature and time to put the finishing touches on her work.” There is a movie debuting at the Toronto film festival about the contrast between mass produced and her garments entitled ‘Useless’. I found her through a short clip on the selvedge website, she speaks about hand made objects containing emotions, emotions of the crafters. This was so poignant I wanted to share, beauty is not only the external of the objects we create but also the quality of our emotions while we create them.**selvedge, is a textile magazine focusing on non traditional forms of textile. It also showcase unique crafters and crafts.