Friday, July 24, 2009

Besides the Taj

A lot is said and read about the Taj, therefore this post is about few things besides the Taj.

Besides the Taj Mahal in Agra and beyond the river Yamuna, there is a small structure of Mughal Architecture which loses the significance of its existence by being sited besides the spectacular Taj Mahal. Everyone going to the Taj is mesmerized by experiencing its grandeur and beauty. Certainly it’s a superb example of artistry and craftsmanship with a great deal of personal life connections of India’s glorious history. Look what is happening… I started by writing that I will not mention anything about the Taj, just a mere hint and its magnificence takes over everything.

The Taj Mahal seen from the Agra Fort

As a part of a study tour, I visited Agra and thus the Taj. When we were in the Taj place, many of friends were very restless to paint their canvases with lots of white and I guess most of them missed the splendid experience. But yes, I do not deny that artists have their own share of experiences with their colours, brushes and canvas. I was rather lost in the art aroma it is known for. However, I did not miss to make a Taj Mahal on paper, but made it from the Agra fort.

As I was being drenched by the beauty of the Taj, I was also fascinated by this structure which reflects its red sandstone in the river Yamuna just besides the Taj. Very secluded and very calm an experience, compliments to that of the Taj.

Batik Art: Besides the Taj

I do not know the reason of its existence there, but I do believe that it must have had a great deal of significance in the past. In the landscape of the taj, this small structure is seen to its left. I unknowingly painted this and realized it much later!


The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai

Besides the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower in Mumbai, there is a place, an office, a design studio where sincere Aarti works, and opposite to her office there is Bademiya!! Bademiya Seekh Kababs! A very famous street side food stall opens at 7pm and is on till 2am. Whenever Aarti works over late evenings and nights, she grabs one of the seekh kababs to keep up her energy; however it is a vegetarian kabab! Bademiya has a variety of veg kababs, unlike the Khan Chacha (from the Khan Market in Delhi) who serves just one variety of veg kabab, and nonetheless it’s the paneer tikka roll. As one of my (non-veg loving) friend comments that the vegetarians have over exaggerated (exagger-eated) the panner! But Bademiya is not this types; panner is a choice amongst many more. And also to be mentioned is his separate veg-cooking counter. It’s amazing.

The take-away menu. Pardon the Colaba spelling here.

preparation in progress...

Also, never go at 7pm, as he is busy in preparations and will not entertain you much. More late you go, more early you will get your kabab! The next I visit Bademiya, I will upload some more yummy pictures!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today's Inspiration: Wreath

The One Minute Writer: a blog which I liked the most in the past couple of days. Today's writing prompt it says: inspiring. What is inspiring you today?
Today, I was inspired by a 'wreath'. Inspired by its form, its structure and its components, I started designing patterns and fabrics with 'wreath' as a theme. (Work in progress). A wreath, I always though was only used for Christmas decorations. The dictionary defines the wreath as 'a circular band of flowers, foliage, or any ornamental work, for adorning the head or for any decorative purpose; a garland or chaplet.'

Image: Table linen from the 'Summertime' collection. Copyright 2009 Tracon espl. Photo Credits: Malhar Sawant

After this part of information collection for the day, I thought of this photograph, where a delicate stalk of a creeper is used to tie up the placemat for a good composition. (It is hardly visible, but one can try and see it at the extreme right of the image.) Its a wreath, it is circular, made of leaves, used for a decorative purpose and in a different context.

A few more details about the photograph: Woven table cloth and placemat designed by Aarti Badamikar, woven in Karur. Art direction by Mahesh Jagtap/Niteen Rangdal. The wreath/coffee beans conception and photography by Malhar Sawant.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Glass Shapes

Elegant novelties, sophisticated and trendy are a few adjectives which I guess explain what I wish to say about these glass objet d'art. All of them are designed and created by my friend and a ceramic & glass designer Aayushi Jindal. Therefore all credits to her... though I deserve the photo credits. While shooting these products I experienced that it is easy to photograph others works than your own. I never have shot such good images of my own work. Enough about photography now, it will be good if Aayushi herself comments on her work instead of me adding some more adjectives.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Solapur: No Identity Crisis


Where do you come from? What is your native place? Which place do you belong to? These are a few questions I’m frequently encountered with. And my answer to this is ‘Solapur’. Quite a times a response to this answer is very annoying, sometimes satisfactory and just once was funny.

“Oh! Ya! Solapur, the place famous for chappals. Right?”
“No. That’s Kolhapur. And it is Kolhapuri chappals”, I answer back, “Jar Kolhapur Maharashtra-la chappal ghalta, tar Solapur akkhya Maharashtra-war panghrun ghalta.

“Solapur and Kolhapur is very close by na?”
“No. It’s quite far away”, plainly I answer.
I accept that my geographical knowledge is not awesome, but I would never ask stupid questions like: “Is Ahmedabad close to Ahmednagar?” or “Are Jamshedpur and Jabalpur twin cities?” I’m almost sure that people who ask such questions do not know that Hyderabad and Secundrabad are twin cities.
Once I also got a witty reply saying, “Toh Satrapur kahan aata hai?”
I never had thought ‘Solapur’ (16 pur) in Hindi! :)
“I know, Solapur. It comes on the way to Chennai by rail! You get amazing pav-bhaji at the station.”
Wow! That’s something I didn’t know. I never had a chance to eat at the station. Yes, being an important junction, people traveling by train atleast know that there is this place called Solapur on the way and that one must try the yummy pav-bhaji there. Well, it is not so famous as the ‘Agre (Agra) ka petha’, ‘Lonavala chi chikki’ or ‘Shegaon chi kachori’.
“Solapur, it is famous for chaddars, right?”
“Yes”, I reply blissfully and thankfully.
Either people are not aware or either that ‘striking something’ is missing in Solapur. Yes, there is something and needs to be made striking enough. Here, I do not wish to write a boring document on Solapur, but to add a few things I cherish about my native place…
Solapur proudly houses one of the oldest temples in the Deccan, the beautiful Siddheshwar Temple. The temple is situated at the center of a lake with a fort lined at its backdrop. It is a pleasant ambiance especially in the evenings. I did not miss to capture a few scenes from in and around the temple as my treasured landscape paintings.

Solapur is located in south Maharashtra and thus many of its attributes have influences from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Three states, three cultures and three languages all at one place i.e. Solapur. An anthropologist will surely love this place.
Last but not the least is the weaving industry in Solapur. “A great opportunity under estimated by the textile people themselves”, is all what I can as of now. I wish to change this statement of mine in to a very affirmative one soon and am striving towards it. As I have decided, I won’t go into passive things and wonder about how things happen. I just know that it is an opportunity which I cannot afford missing and I also believe in what Winston Churchill says: “Who dares wins.”

A Jacquard fabric woven in Solapur

Anu writs a short and beautiful paragraph about her experience of Solapur fabrics on her blog here. I'm glad I found this post based on a personal experience. It outstands the rest of stereotypic data found on the net (atleast for me).
When I choose textiles as my career, many people pointed at me saying, “Why textiles?”, “Mills have closed down. What are you going to do?”, “Textile is going to take you nowhere.” Foolish people have forgotten that fabric/cloth is one of the basic necessities of man. Yes, mills were closed down in Solapur and even in Mumbai. Those were composite mills and had its own set of difficulties. But fabric manufacturing did not stop. Solapur did not have any other means of survival and thus it fell back. Mumbai being a metro city had a lot other threads to live on. On the same mill land today, people in Mumbai spend bundles of cash and most of the time it is for clothes and fabrics, isn’t it? High Street Phoenix, familiar as Phoenix Mill. It is called the ‘Mill to Mall’ culture in Mumbai. But I am glad that I’m into textiles. It has taken me back to my roots.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tessellated Imagery

The rains have begun. In Mumbai, not in Ahmedabad yet. Everyone in NID is craving for rains, I know, many posts on FB read such lines! so here are some snails...

... for a pre-rain experience

... some swans sailing on a silent lake

...with paperboats on roadsides of the oldcity

and the birds... post monsoon on the Thodd Lake.

Missing aapnu Amdavad!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Sari

Image: Sari, silk screen print on crepe + silk hand embroidery
Photo Credits:
Swapnil Sakhare 2006

Sari, the most beautiful Indian drape that celebrates a woman.
The above sari is with a contemporary design inspired by art and tradition. The motifs are inspired from the works of artist Joan Miro, it is printed on a crepe fabric with and the borders and pallu are hand embroidered by silk with a deeper shade making the sari a monochromatic drape.

A book worth reading
Mr. Vijai Singh Katiyar, a designer, senior faculty at NID and my guide has recently written a book “Indian Saris: Traditions – Perspectives – Design". A blog on this subject by the author is here. Mr. MP Ranjan also writes about this book on his blog.
I haven't yet read the book, but I had a chance to flip through when it was still in a manuscript stage. Apart from traditions and designs, it also has a focus on the sari to be used by the younger generation which today is influenced by the western clothing. It throws light on the contemporary use of the sari.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Which is more Halloween types?? The orange-black right?! Colour matters. Colour makes a difference. Colour sells and the right colour sells more.

Kirigami Snowflakes

Crafty Christmas! Snowflake is a nice dynamic Christmas motif. Having a 3D geometry, the snowflake motif is always shown in a hexagonal 2D geometric shape. Working on the Christmas concept with paper, I crafted a few kirigami snowflakes but in an octagonal shape. Folding and cutting paper to get an eight angled snowflake is easier than getting a six edged. I preferred the easier way out and it was good fun folding and cutting paper to get different shapes each time you unfold it.

Technique inventors… Japanese are smart people. I am familiar to a few A few Japanese techniques like origami, kirigami, shibori, sashiko. I’m sure there are many more. They also have amusing and bewitching names like wabi sabi, fuva fuva, boro boro, shimi zimi etc. all of which are great design inspirations.