[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1618453133623{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Kantha Embroidery: We speak so much nowadays of recycling and upcycling as a means of repairing what we have done to the environment and our ecology through thoughtless consumption. But in several cultures, and particularly Japan and India, upcycling has existed historically. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1618453133623{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text] [caption id="attachment_3869" align="alignleft" width="300"]Kantha Embroidery born out of Recycling and Upcycling Traditions Sashiko from Japan. So similar to Kantha. Picture Rit Maes[/caption] Japan, of course, has her Sashiko and Boro. And India has Kantha. I recall when my son was born, our Bengali help embroidered his first nappies using soft used cloth and beautiful Kantha, something I still treasure. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1616956674552{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]If there is any embroidery that is solely in the realm of women, it is phulkari, and that too the women of Punjab.  Translating to 'flower work,' it is vital in the history and culture of its state of origin, steeped in its history, its customs, and rites of passage ceremonies. More than any other embroidery of India, it is significant- less for commercial reasons and more for the insight it offers into women's lives historically. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1616300712552{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Zardozi Embroidery: There is something about embroidery that has held the world in thrall in all of recorded history.  Is it the human urge to beautify and improve? Is it a stress buster? Whatever the reasons, India probably stands at the forefront of the world in terms of both the variety and the complexity of its embroidery traditions. Many of the embroideries found on garments on the international catwalks are developed in India, though this may not be known or acknowledged. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1614810953051{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text] [caption id="attachment_3700" align="alignleft" width="350"]Kashidakari - The Gorgeous Embroideries of Kashmir Kashmir Image from traveltriangle.com[/caption] Embroideries of Kashmir: A couple of weeks back, I shared a breathtaking video made by the Google Arts & Culture Institute on the Sozni Embroidery from Kashmir. The video gathered a lot of love and likes on Facebook and Instagram. The valley of Kashmir with its beautiful flora and fauna is resplendent with nature. Therefore the embroideries or textile designs from Kashmir have always been largely inspired by the floral beauty of the valley.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1610085540880{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]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 admire it. This was my first exposure to the miracle of Japanese crafts.

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Indian Art

[caption id="attachment_3273" align="alignleft" width="400"]The Pahari School of Paintings: The Beautiful Indian Art Jain school of Gujarat.[/caption]

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,  painted on palm leaves, and the earliest example of miniature painting in India.  The next development was the Jain school of Gujarat, which eventually lead to the Rajput tradition of miniature art.  As it grew and developed, the Rajput tradition divided into two distinct schools, Rajput and the Pahari school, based in Himachal Pradesh, the hilly state in the north-west of India.


[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1605059524618{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column css=".vc_custom_1605055623830{padding-right: 15px !important;}" offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Jim Thompson: Hours to kill at an airport when you're waiting for a flight is usually a time filled with tedium. But not when you're at Bangkok airport. Reason? Several Jim Thompson boutiques are scattered over the shopping concourse, leading to hours of pleasurable browsing and shopping.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image="3188" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]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 the country’s lifestyle and culture and chose to settle there.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1604552988400{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Micro Mosaic

[caption id="attachment_3172" align="alignleft" width="250"]Micro Mosaic a Popular Art from the 19th Century Byzantine mosaic[/caption]

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 have always fascinated me.  

MUGHAL & DUTCH: A CULTURAL BRIDGING OF 2 GREAT ARTISTIC TRADITIONS

THE MUGHAL EMPERORS LOVE FOR BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS AND FLORAL DESIGNS

Mosaics have been around from the third century BC, particularly in Ancient Rome, composed of glass and terracotta. However, they came into their own in the Byzantine era, where they adorned the churches. This tradition was continued during the Renaissance, as in the ceiling of St Peter's Basilica by Michaelangelo.  

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How did this small town come to be known as the best in the history of Hand Blockprinting?

It was usual for the Rajasthan medieval elites to have musicians, artists, and craftsmen associated with their family. The artists were attached to their patron’s family. They would create a whole gamut of objects and arts in-house for family-like jewelry, clothes, music, bangles or prints, etc. Sanganer became a land of great artists and patronizing families. Whenever the king or the ruler needed something particular, word of mouth would search for unique skillsets. The best artisans would be found and sent. The selected printers and dyers would prepare a new design or a new shade of color for their king. And that’s how the skills of the artisans of Sanganer became known and sought by higher nobility. This type of patronage was not just a way for economic sustenance for artisans, but also a peek into the outside world, offering the artisans a channel for aesthetic inputs. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]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 ended up traveling 13 km away from the central city to get to this self-contained city of Sanganer packed with old structures and temples of great details and architecture. It is a town known for its unique ‘sanganeri’ hand block printing technique. It was revelatory to stumble onto Sanganer’s various sister crafts like handmade papermaking, gold and silver foil making, and cotton weaving. The small town has its artisanal ecology.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Textiles of Africa [caption id="attachment_2947" align="alignleft" width="380"]THE MATERIALS & PROCESSES RELATED TO THE CULTURAL TEXTILES OF AFRICA A Kuba chief in formal attire. Note the cut pile border. Image from The Worldwide History of Dress.[/caption] Textiles of Africa occupy a unique spot in the history of world textiles: Their use ranges from clothing, tent awnings, wall hangings, and bed covers: they also indicate the wealth of the owner, and in many cases, his social standing and possessions.  Historically, textiles in Africa have also been used as currency. Therefore it is a pity that most western perception of this genre centers on its 'craft.’ Of course, African textiles are craft-based, but they are so much more than that.   Africa is a massive continent, with immense cultural and geographical diversity, so the only way to examine its textile traditions in such an article is to divide the elements under heads:
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