Finished the quilt I’ve been working on for the better part of the week! I wanted the surface to be evocative of a patchwork of text. Letters from friends and family, doodles in my sketchbook all became part of this intensely personal piece. My fascination with stamp perforations translated into the side panels, with magnified circular motifs framing the printed central panel.
The big white envelope that I’d been waiting for (for what seemed like ages) finally arrived. I got the Arts Council’s award! The Arts Council has awarded me a ‘Grant for the Arts’, an award that supports artistic excellence in England. I can spend the grant on participating at key shows and marketing.
Grinning ear to ear, I noticed the huge smile on the logo. Quite apt, don’t you think?
As days hurtle towards Tent’s opening in two weeks, everything seems a blur.
Rushing off in the rain to my next errand today, I looked up as the skies suddenly cleared. And there it was, as if urging me to pause. My rainbow.
So, pause I did. Went to the opening of Connect – an exhibition by Contemporary British Silversmiths at Quest Gallery, with my friend Jess. Afterwards, we all had dinner together at home. Good art, good laughs and good food made for a perfect evening.
I have always had a thing for quilts. I remember my grandmother’s delightful running stitch quilts which she used to make with old saris. Years later, when I went to study at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, I remember staring wonder struck at the intricate Bengal Kantha quilts at the Calico Museum of Textiles.
And then one day, on a random Google search I discovered the Quilts of Gee’s Bend. Their contemporary, abstract aesthetic stopped me in my tracks. These astoundingly beautiful works of arts had been created by a group of women using worn out clothes in an isolated corner of Alabama, USA. I was hooked! Soon, I was reading up everything I could lay my hands on about these quilts. I long to see them in “flesh” now…
So back in Birmingham, the Selfridges building didn’t disappoint. It’s as amazing as I’d always imagined it to be, beautiful and defiantly contemporary. As for the festival, well, it was a glimpse into a whole new world. There were all sorts of fabrics, quilting machines, wadding, frames, yarns and hundreds of enthusiastic women.
Most of the stuff at the Festival left me uninspired, however I did find some real gems. Canadian quilt artist Dorothy Caldwell’s quilts were simply mesmerising as were Pauline Burbidge’s. Dorothy shows extensively in Canada, US and Japan, though this was her first visit to England. Her exhibition titled “Marking the Everyday” showcased her large scale quilts and smaller works.The quilts were wax printed and discharged, with accents of kantha-like embroidery marks. We got chatting and it turned out that she had lectured at NID years ago. Skye Morrison, a Canadian artist involved with Indian textiles (Sujani projects in Bihar) sprang to my mind. I’d attended Skye’s kite making workshop at NID as a student. Well, it turned out that Skye and Dorothy are close friends and have travelled to India together. Small world? I believe it is.
In a month’s time I will be showing at Tent London.”Officially the coolest new event in the London Calendar”, says the Evening Standard. The show is from 18th to 21st September at Truman Brewery, London. I’m busy making new work, holding discussions over the new website/ packaging/ press packs, doing photoshoots, sorting 300dpi images, lighting, van hire and a zillion other bits that seem to just crop with unerring regularity every day. But I’m loving the rush.
Speaking of photoshoots, I did the most fun photoshoot of my life last month. As a rule I hate photoshoots. In my fashion design days, doing a photoshoot used to mean managing models, perfect creases, make up while attemptiong to get fabulous images. Stressful would be a good word to describe it. Well, not so with Tas. Tas Kyprianou is a fantastic photographer and an absolute riot to work with . And the images…what can I say. Wait till the new website goes up!
In the midst of preps for the show, AK and I managed to take a brief holiday. We went to Edinburgh last week and caught some really cool shows. The Aluminium Show was this amazing interactive performance; The Bird, a play with deeply sensitive portrayals. Saw many other great shows. However, top of my list is my friend Uvi’s prawn curry. That by itself is reason enough to go to Edinburgh.
My studio sits atop Sion Hill and overlooks the valley that cradles Bath. My daily walk to the studio is punctuated by looking up at the sky through tall trees lining the little lane that connects the Royal Avenue to the Royal Crescent; taking in the textures on the pavement; breathing in the lovely rose bush on the corner house; looking at the tiny wild flowers sprinkled all over the dazzling green grass. (How can green be so greeeeeeeeeen?!)
These and a hundred such details make my daily ritual a delight. By the time I get to the top of the hill, I’m invariably slightly out of breath (does it ever get easier?), but the views more that make up for the lactic acid crystals.
The walk back home is equally delightful, listening to the quiet rustling of leaves down the lane from school and then walking downhill by elegant Georgian houses. Watching tiny cycles or swanky sports cars parked outside, I love to imagine the lives of their owners. Walking past St James Square, I usually stop over at Quest Gallery. The Gallery hosts really exciting exhibitions and I am yet to find one that I have not enjoyed immensely. The one that’s on at the moment is Prints and Sculptures by Richard Watkins. Liked the prints.
Ek Taar, means a single strand of thread in Hindi. This blog is an attempt to untangle interwoven, entangled masses of my thought strands and examine them at leisure. A bit like Dumbledore teasing out strands of memories from his pensieve and reviewing them. Strands of inspiration, travel, design, art, craft, poetry, fashion, textiles, architecture, diaspora, identity will be unpicked, unravelled & examined. Some will get woven back while others will perhaps be discarded for fresh ones.
Taar also means a telegram. In that almost-forgotten era when telephones didn’t exist, a taar was what you dispatched to get your message sent swiftly. It seems appropriate then, to call the first post that. A short message sent swiftly.
So here’s to inspired unpicking and unravelling.