From Indian Oddessy to Sultans Bed

I WANT to get my paints out and pour over my photographs to remind myself of all the  design images that hooked my interest in Jaipur. The saffron and indigo colours in Bagru textile village, flapping from rooftops whilst it dried in the sun. The hand-blocked fabrics in the village shop.Then on Holi- Day, when we invited to a party and threw dry powders at each other. Everyone was caked in fluorescent pink, yellow, green and blue powder as they streaked into hair, body and clothes. I was overwhelmed by the displays  and bold colors and designs of the elephants, dancers and musicians on show at Jairpur polo ground.

Treadle sewing machine

I simply fell in love with those magnificent elephants, historic buildings, architectural details and ancient textiles on display in the Pink City. I was tempted by the simple crafts made  sold by the hawkers… the natural beauty of the people around me and the vivid colours in the ladies saris. The dusty roads with camels, bullocks, pedestrians, tuk tuks brightly painted lorrys and cars …a kaleidoscope of hues.

Choki Dani



Back at home, I am designing an outside bed, fit for a Sultan, or in my case a Sultana.  I love sleeping outside in August and September where the night temperatures and a gentle wind keep  you cool. Indoors with the shutters closed to keep out mosquitoes, and my gorgeous cats in. it is too hot to sleep without air conditioning.

The Sultans bed also can be used as extra seating during the day under the cool shade of the pergola. The swirling motifs on the whitewashed walls are ideas from both Klimt and India, where I suspect he found those curling forms on henna tattoos, wall paintings and cotton saris.



Creative Block Gone!

Today I received Cas Holmes’ book in the post, The Found Object in Textile Art. It is every bit as inspiring as going  on one of her workshops and learning from her personally. It is oozing with small and large ideas to develop textile and mixed media art projects. 

This  morning for example, I learned  about Momigami. It is the Japanese art of distorting paper and fabric. I am sure Cas will not mind sharing her techniques. Basically you take a sheet of paper (serviettes, magazine pages, brown parcel paper, sacking, cotton handkerchief, coffee filter paper etc. Oil your hands with cooking oil, fold the corners of the paper into the middle & scrunch up. Keep scrunching & gently massaging with the palms of the hands. Open it out and spread flat. With the oil on the palms and fingers, push gently outwards from the middle to the edges to stretch the fabric or paper. Repeat the process 3 or 4 times until you have a piece you like.

The resulting piece can be used as a starting point to either paint, stitch, stamp or embellish in some way. The one below was a 3 ply paper napkin left over from a barbecue. I show the before and after photos. What you may not be able to discern with my poor quality camera is that ‘after’ using the momigami techniques the napkin looks like a piece of silk! It is quite gorgeous and I now have to decide how to use it.

Being so inspired by this process, gave me a kick start to finish the Six Sweet Hearts I had started weeks before. I used a mixture of the collographed work I made in June and the recycled materials that I collected from the local animal charity monthly sale, then I got out the sewing machine.