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Fresh, sparkling and new

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Although I haven’t posted in a while, I kept meaning to. While the past three months whizzed by, I kept taking photos, scribbling notes for posting, but somehow just didn’t manage to. Well, it’s my birthday today and I thought it’s the perfect day to do things I enjoy. So here goes.

Get Fresh, an exhibition celebrating designer-makers based in the Southwest of England opened last Friday at the Riverside Mill, in Bovey Tracey, Devon. Organised by the prestigious Devon Guild of Craftsmen, this is a biennial show. I am showing my Scrolls quilt, new scarves and cushions there with 17 other really cool contemporary artists/designers. The show continues till the 1st of March 09. I was chosen as the Associate Member along with a few others, amongst them my friends Anne Selby and Claire Loder. So all in all it was a really good evening.

The Private View

My work

Erica Steer, Co-Director of the Devon Guild announcing the names of newly chosen Associate Members, chief guest Dame Suzi Leather looking on


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Victor and Rolf are one my favourite designers, I love their work. Caught their first ever exhibition in the UK at the Barbican Art Gallery just in time. Thank God for late night openings!

The exhibition was absolutely amazing! There was a huge doll house just as you walked in, with signature pieces of Victor and Rolf’s collections over the past 15 years showcased on dolls. Each doll was made to resemble the original model who had worn it on the catwalk. The dolls and miniature garments were specially commissioned for the show. And then there was my favourite Russian Doll collection (1999–2000). Turning the Russian Dolls idea on its head, a single model was dressed by Viktor & Rolf into couture dresses of increasing length and complexity. This collection was displayed on life-size dolls, making the installation seem as though you’d almost walked into a doll house.

I could’ve spent the whole night there.

I pitched a Tent at London

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I totally enjoyed myself at Tent London. On the 18th morning we were all relaxed and ready to meet the world. Four days of non-stop chats with press, public and trade! It was fun, exciting and exhausting. The party on Friday evening began at 8 in the evening, by 9 the place was heaving. Finished the evening with curry on Brick Lane.

Tent London 08

Here’s my special thank you list- Emma and the whole Maker Development team, Jess and Sarah, Rachna and Rajeev, Uvi and Gaurav, Ma, Pa, Puneet and as always AK.

Love Letter

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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.

Fingers Crossed

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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?

Fleeting moments

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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.

When I looked out of the window the other day

Celebrating Quilts

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The Selfridges Building, Birmingham Bullring

So it was with great anticipation that I set off for the Festival of Quilts at NEC Birmingham on Sunday, 17th August. The prospect of seeing the biggest Quilt Show, one of my favourite artists Pauline Burbidge‘s work at the show and the Selfridges building at the Birmingham Bullring had me looking forward to it all week.

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.

Dorothy Caldwell

And the count down begins

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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.

Talk the Walk

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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.

I keep returning to one particular stretch of pavement. More on that in the next post.