• Cypress Motif: When studying the history of motifs in the arts and crafts, we often read about the Paisley.  But there is another motif, more mysterious, more philosophical, one that represents death and eternal life. And that is the Cypress.  Many say that the Paisley was...

  • Textile Crafts of Japan : I had a pink hand-painted pajama set as a child, which came in an artful box, with the inside flap mirrored and beribboned. I loved this so much I never actually wore it but pulled it out at intervals to...

  • Art Nouveau : As a young girl, I remember attending a book fair in Delhi and spotting a book with black and white illustrations. Curling and sinuous, at once decorative yet a little naughty, these were by the famous Art Nouveau illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. I’ve...

  • Punk : The idea of perfection and details in designs are an intrinsic part of cultural crafts. This refined look of crafts has always fascinated me until the current prolonged situation with the pandemic made me realize why isn’t design in crafts used for ‘activism’...

  • Indo-French Art : The historical connection between India and France goes back to the late 17th and 18th centuries when French ships arrived to set up trading centers in Pondicherry, the then Masulipatnam, and Surat, amongst others. Of course, the French were never as prominent...

  • Indian Floral : For centuries, plants and flowers have inspired Indian artists of different genres. The lotus flowers and floral meanders depicted in the Buddhist sites dating back to the 3rd century, the depiction of Hindu God Vishnu on a throne of a lotus flower,...

  • Indian Art The history of painting in India goes back 2000 years, something that many do not realize, starting with the beautiful murals of Ajanta, which are interesting too because they show people wearing craft still extant.  The 11th century saw the illustrated Pala manuscripts, ...

  • I will start teaching my first course on ‘Collaborative Design with Artisans’ as an Adjunct Professor at FIT from the coming Saturday. This new opportunity encouraged me to read about handmade textiles from a global perspective. I read some exciting books from the V&A Museum’s...

  • Jim Thompson was not born a designer. He studied architecture at Princeton and eventually enlisted in the Delaware National Guard in 1940, leading to a posting in Thailand with the ending of World War 2. While he was in Thailand, he was very taken with...

  • Micro Mosaic There is something about the miniature, but perfect and complete that gets me every time. And I know I’m not the only one. Is it an adult fascination with dollhouses? Or the desire to control a tiny universe? I don’t know. But Micromosaics...

  • Sanganer Hand Blockprinting: Like every other textile lover, I visited Jaipur searching for exquisite ‘vintage’ textiles, decorated with hand block printed florals in gorgeous shades of aged reds, greens, and indigo from the era of nobility and generous patronage in the history of Jaipur. I...

  • In the 16th and 17th centuries, an awareness began to grow about beauty and comfort, both in interiors and dress. This age coincided with a time in England when huge homes were being built, abbeys were turned into residences, and lasting peace meant that they...

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